After Congressman Paul Ryan became Speaker of the House, we remarked that he “may surprise us.”
I must admit, the surprises have exceeded my skepticism, especially after the House defied a veto threat by the President and overwhelmingly passed legislation to suspend Obama’s program to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next year.
And Ryan shed not one tear doing so, either.
It appears that this newly found political courage is infectious. The Senate is now making a move to defund some climate change inanity, to the tune of $3 billion dollars.
Republicans are taking aim at a new “Green Climate Fund,” as they look to weaken President Obama’s hand in global climate talks later this month.
The pot of money, a $3 billion climate change pledge the president’s administration made last year, is something officials hope to bring to the negotiating table at United Nations summit in Paris.
But Republicans — hostile to the climate talks and bent on doing whatever they can to derail a deal in Paris next month — say they’re going to deny Obama the first tranche of money he hopes to inject into the fund.
“We pledge that Congress will not allow U.S. taxpayer dollars to go to the Green Climate Fund until the forthcoming international climate agreement is submitted to the Senate for its constitutional advice and consent,” 37 Republican senators wrote in a letter to Obama on Thursday.
The fund, a pool of public and private money, is meant to help poorer nations prepare for climate change.
A Senate appropriations bill cleared the way for the first portion of American funding earlier this year, but Republicans committed this week to blocking it in a final budget deal.
By way of background, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) was established at United Nations talks 5 years ago. The monies raised would supposedly be used to help developing nations deal with a warming world.
The fund has received a slew of criticism, including a lack of transparency:
…There are also concerns about how the GCF is run, says [Washington, D.C. policy analyst Brandon] Wu, who attended the Zambia meeting as a permitted ‘civil society observer’. Wu is worried that indigenous communities were not adequately consulted before the approval of $6.2 million for the Peruvian wetlands programme, for example. GCF documents say that a consultation was carried out, but for this and for other projects, the fund has no independent verification of its claims, says Andrea Rodríguez Osuna, who works in Mexico City for the non-profit environmental law organization AIDA and was also present in Zambia.
Nor is the GCF transparent about its processes, Rodríguez Osuna adds. “The fund has no information disclosure policy and no accountability mechanism, yet the board is approving project proposals,” she says.
For the eight projects approved at the board meeting, for example, only proposal documents were publicly available (and in the case of two private-sector projects, only a summary). “These are hardly the unbiased sources of information needed to evaluate a project’s merits or any potential negative impacts,” Wu says. Project reviews made by the fund’s board and by an independent technical advisory panel are not publicly released, and GCF officials repeatedly failed to answer questions asked by Nature for this article.
As we enter Thanksgiving week, the willingness to fight toxic policies and defund worthless programs from both houses of Congress is something to be grateful for.DONATE
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