USAID still pushes climate alarmism over energy, jobs, health and prosperity for poor countries.
Part 1 of a 3-part series
It’s obscene enough when the Multilateral anti-Development Banks do it. But Trump agencies?!?
In a prime example of Deep State revanchism, despite the profound change in administrations, the U.S. Agency for International Development is still funding and advancing anti-energy Obama-era climate change dogmas and policies for developing countries. USAID handles tens of billions of dollars a year, roughly half of all U.S. foreign aid, so this climate alarmism puts literally millions of lives at risk.
USAID calls its “flagship” program “low emissions development.” Emissions, of course, means plant-fertilizing, life-giving carbon dioxide – but the term is intended to suggest dangerous climate changing pollution. The effect, if not the intent, is to deprive poor countries of the enormous life-enhancing benefits of abundant, affordable electricity and fossil fuels, which created the health and wealth Americans enjoy.
The President and Congress need to terminate this poverty-perpetuating carbon colonialism – which USAID prefers to describe in this deceptive, eco-virtuous language:
“Enhancing Capacity for Low Emission Development Strategies (EC-LEDS) is a flagship U.S. program that has forged partnerships with more than two dozen developing countries from Colombia to Indonesia to South Africa to Ukraine committed to and taking concrete actions to achieve low emission development.
“Under EC-LEDS, USAID, the State Department and other U.S. agencies work with partner countries to help develop tools and analyses to estimate GHG emissions and identify and pursue the best options for low emission growth.”
In fact, says the agency, “this new development strategy marks the first time climate change will play a central role throughout the entire agency’s development efforts.” [emphasis added]
USAID itself could never function under the low-emission standards it imposes on nations that struggle daily with rampant poverty, disease, malnutrition and premature death. Its employees could never run their own homes and lives under such standards. They would never tolerate having those restrictions imposed on them (though this might be a fascinating exercise that would bring out their true colors).
Eco-imperialist aid policies did not end with Obama’s exit
As we have noted (here, here and here), Multilateral anti-Development Banks use similar claims and language to justify their eco-imperialist, anti-fossil-fuel policies and lending practices. But especially during the Obama era, the State Department, its USAID operations and other U.S. government agencies also prevented poor countries from using oil, natural gas, coal and modern farming technologies.
That this continues is despicable. That even Trump State Department representatives to the 2017 Climate Summit in Bonn, Germany were advancing Obama policies is intolerable. It needs to end, now.
The refusal of these “public servants” to be part of the new Administration is pure Deep State, guided in part by an Obama-era document, “USAID Climate Change and Development Strategy 2012-2016.” Their plan is clearly based on climate alarmism that is increasingly rooted in computer models and hysterical claims that bear little resemblance either to global temperature trends over the past 20 years or to the actual history of droughts and extreme weather over the past century. The document asserts:
“Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our generation. USAID – as part of the broader [Obama] Presidential Global Climate Change Initiative (GCCI) – is addressing this challenge in ways that recognize both its severity and the opportunities clean economic growth presents to spur innovation and encourage investments that will have long lasting environmental and development benefits. If we support countries to build climate resilience and move towards a ‘low carbon’ economic growth pathway, we can help provide more stable and prosperous futures for the U.S. and for our partners, including new markets for clean technology and expansion of the green economy. Alternatively, if we are unable to meet this challenge, climate change could jeopardize many of the development gains the international community and the U.S. government have worked for decades to secure.”
The policy was implemented in 2012. But 18 months after Mr. Trump was sworn in, current USAID national and regional websites – as well as the strategy document itself – still say it remains in effect and still “guides our work helping countries transition to lasting and climate-resilient, low-emission economic development.” They say the policy is “Extended to September 2018,” and suggest that the “StratPlan” will be kept in force even if it technically expires in September.
“Clean energy activities help countries attract the private investment they need to scale up sustainable and cost-effective renewable energy, minimizing pollution and keeping pace with today's changing energy landscape,” the documents claim. Moreover, the dogma will be “integrated” and implemented across all USAID activities: “Integration activities ensure climate change knowledge and practice is applied, where appropriate, across USAID’s development portfolio to protect U.S. investments from unforeseen risks."
“Sustainable” energy thus ties into UN climate alarmism, alleged risks of “imminent resource depletion,” avoidance of “over-consumption,” and funding, guiding and imposing policies and programs that limit the number of people around the world who might achieve the middle and upper class living standards that USAID, UN, IPCC, World Bank and EU technocrats (and their environmentalist allies) already enjoy.
These governing elites fear that newly middle class families would want more stuff: cars, real houses, refrigerators, stoves, lights, and vacations to exotic locales now enjoyed mostly by UAID officials and other climate conference attendees. Extending these “privileges” to “middle class wannabes” would require taking more resources out of the ground, which would hurt Mother Earth.
Therefore, these billions of people who have electricity only a few hours a week, who “enjoy” life on the edge of the disease and starvation abyss, must be permitted to improve their lives only a little; only to the extent that it would conform to UN and USAID climate, sustainability and over-consumption guidelines; only as much as could be supported by wind and solar energy, subsistence farming and bed nets.
Trump USAID Administrator Mark Green should have terminated this travesty his first day at the helm. At the very least, he, the White House and Congress should now serve notice that it will be rescinded in toto August 31– and then make sure it is totally repealed, defunded and shut down September 1.
Rescission must be active, not passive. It must cover all U.S. and overseas USAID budgets, personnel, strategic plans, policies, “guidance” and policy statements, websites and other items that advance these climate, sustainability and related agendas. Funds and personnel should be reassigned, and Deep Staters complicit in perpetuating the programs after January 2017 should be disciplined or let go.
The Foreign Operations Appropriations bills now pending in the House and Senate provide all USAID funding, and are obvious vehicles for issuing permanent pro-energy, pro-people, pro-development rules.
Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death and other books and articles on energy, climate change and economic development. David Wojick is an independent analyst specializing in science, logic and human rights in public policy, and author of numerous articles on these topics.
Editor's Note: Part 2 will examine how these carbon colonialist policies fail on humanitarian and ecological grounds, and how they use fabricated threats to justify minimal energy and economic growth for decades to come.