Yesterday, major environment, development, and religious groups sent a letter to the House and Senate urging them to pass a budget which includes strong support for international actions to reduce deforestation emissions, deploy clean energy, and adapt to the impacts of global warming in developing countries. President Obama outlined in his current year budget proposal dedicating $1.4 billion to invest in developing country activities towards these aims (as my colleague discussed here).
In addition to NRDC, the letter was sent from: AED, Center for Biological Diversity, Ceres, Church World Service, Climate Solutions, Conservation International, Earthjustice, Environmental Defense Fund, Interfaith Power and Light, League of Conservation Voters, Lutheran World Relief, National Peace Corps Association, National Wildlife Federation, Oxfam, Population Action International, Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, Union of Concerned Scientists, Wildlife Conservation Society, and World Wildlife Fund.
This investment is critical to addressing global warming. As the letter stresses:
“…investing in international efforts to reduce emissions from tropical deforestation, increase carbon sequestration and to protect biological diversity across landscapes; to deploy US clean technology to other countries; and to develop climate resilient solutions in the most vulnerable countries already affected by climate change are all key to addressing one of the major problems of our time, both at home and abroad—global warming.”
This investment is also in the US interest and benefits the American people as the groups stressed:
“Strengthening countries’ capacities to protect tropical forests will directly help the US by substantially lowering global warming pollution. Accelerating deployment of US clean energy technologies including renewable energy and energy efficiency will help achieve a low carbon pathway to global economic development and at the same time increase American jobs in this industry. By investing in appropriate technology and expertise in communities in developing countries to counter the disproportionately negative impact from climate change, the US also will go far in protecting our national security which can be threatened by global warming-induced conflict from more severe and frequent weather hazards, decreased agricultural production, increased water scarcity or insufficient food stocks.”
This investment was a key part of the Copenhagen Accord, where the US and other developed countries agreed to dedicate $30 billion over the next 3 years to these efforts. Analysis by the World Resources Institute shows that existing commitments get pretty close to that level, but only if countries (such as the US) actually finalize these amounts in their budgets.
Now the House and Senate must take the appropriate steps to agree to this critical funding. The key House subcommittee is expected to take up this funding this week, so let’s hope that they do the right thing and vote yes in support of this critical funding. And when the Senate turns to this portion of the budget, a strong yes vote will send the right signal on these investments.