White House: Spending Deal Allows Obama to Shift Money to Green Climate Fund

Barbara Hollingsworth | December 18, 2015 | 10:56am EST
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President Barack Obama talks about signing the Paris climate agreement from the Cabinet Room of the White House. (AP photo)

(CNSNews.com) –  The $1.2 trillion year-end spending bill released by House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday does not include money for the United Nation’s Green Climate Fund (GCF), but it does not prevent President Obama from shifting funds to it from other areas, according to the White House.

“Based on what we have reviewed so far, there are no restrictions on our ability to make good on the president’s pledge to contribute to the Green Climate Fund,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday.

Obama has pledged $3 billion to help developing countries mitigate and adapt to climate change.

“When you take a look at the entire package, I think the country can feel good about how this budget reflects the priorities that the President has laid out when it comes to transitioning to the low-carbon economy of the future,” Earnest said.

The GCF is the financial mechanism that will be used to implement the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) Paris Agreement adopted on December 12.

James Taylor, senior fellow for environment and energy policy at the Heartland Institute, told CNSNews.com that the Paris agreement “hamstrings Western economies to utilize much more expensive energy sources that put them at a competitive disadvantage and hands over $100 billion to developing nations, which may presumably include China” - despite “real-world evidence [that] continues to contradict the notion of a global warming crisis.”

Taylor pointed out that China is the largest emitter of carbon dioxide on earth and emits “more than all the nations in the Western Hemisphere combined.” Chinese finance minister Yingming Yang is on the GCF’s board.

James Taylor (Heartland Institute)

However, under the agreement, China and India, another major CO2 emitter, “don’t have to do anything,” he told CNSNews.com.

Under the non-binding agreement, China has merely promised to “peak” its CO2 emissions “around 2030”, but has not agreed to any actual reductions.

In contrast, Obama pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. by at least 26 percent below 2005 levels over the next 10 years. That goal would require implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s controversial Clean Power Plan, which is being challenged in court by 26 states.

Nevertheless, Taylor characterized the Paris agreement as a “crushing defeat” for the Obama administration. “They did not achieve their objective, which was to obligate the United States to internationally enforceable carbon dioxide restrictions,” he told CNSNews.com.

“The only way that would happen is if U.S. policy makers decide to implement the plan, and for that Congress has to come on board. And Congress is not that foolish,” he predicted.

Related: A Vote for Green Climate Fund in Speaker Ryan’s Omnibus Spending Bill Is a Vote for Paris Agreement

Related: Obama: ‘We Are Going to Contribute $3 Billion to the Green Climate Fund’

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