President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2012 budget request that will invest in global efforts to reduce carbon pollution, tap into the growing global demand for clean energy, and make countries more resilient to the impacts of global warming. It takes a scalpel to international funding at a time when we need more international climate funding, not less. But the President’s budget invests in efforts that benefit Americans, while the recent House Republican proposal would gut programs that help America compete and protect its citizens from the damages of carbon pollution. One budget invests in what is needed, the other turns a blind eye to the opportunities and challenges that are in front of us.
The President’s budget would (full details here):
Invest in clean energy development and deployment in the developing world. As the President’s budget request states:
In addition to investing at home to create and deploy clean energy technologies, the President’s budget would help create the global demand and market conditions for clean energy deployment throughout the world. The budget would propose $652 million for efforts to speed up the deployment of clean energy technologies throughout the world. This is a small investment in an effort that could create up to 850,000 American jobs. After all, this investment unleashes much larger private sector investment so small, targeted investments can reap much larger benefits to the U.S.
Reduce global forest loss. The carbon pollution from global deforestation is equivalent to the pollution of the world’s transportation sector. Left unchecked this forest loss will have damaging impacts on our environment and public health, cause massive loss of biodiversity, and exacerbate social stability in key regions. The budget proposes $421 million for U.S. efforts to reduce deforestation.
Reducing this forest loss could be one of the least costly ways to address carbon pollution. And these investments benefit American farmers and ranchers by ensuring that there is a level playing field for sustainably produced forest and agriculture products, including from the U.S. -- it is estimated that this could increase the revenue of American farmers and ranchers by $7-9 billion per year. These potential benefits far outweigh any cost of the targeted funding that President Obama’s budget proposes.
Helping countries become more resilient to global warming (and natural disasters). As Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently said:
Rising sea levels could lead to a mass migration and displacement similar to what we have seen in Pakistan’s flood. And climate shifts could drastically reduce the arable land needed to feed a burgeoning population as we have seen in parts of Africa.
The scarcity of and potential competition for resources like water, food and space, compounded by an influx of refugees if coastal lands are lost, does not only create a humanitarian crisis but creates conditions of hopelessness that could lead to failed states and make populations vulnerable to radicalization.
The budget proposes $256 million for U.S. adaptation funding to help reduce this risk of political instability by helping make countries more resilient to the impacts of global warming. After all, it is cheaper to avoid the mess in the first place rather than trying to clean up after the damage has occurred. So these investments not only help now, but avoid much larger investments in the future.
Members of Congress face a choice when confronted with the budget: invest in programs which benefit the U.S. now and in the future or decimate those programs. The House budget proposal chooses to gut critical international carbon pollution investments, while the President’s budget proposal makes needed investments to create clean energy jobs, reduce carbon pollution, and reduce the risks of political instability.
We vote for making the needed investments and hope that you take action and tell your Member of Congress to do the same.