WASHINGTON: In a budget blueprint released on Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump proposed sweeping cuts to U.S. financial support for the global fight against climate change. The title page called it the “America First” budget. “Our aim is to meet the simple, but crucial demand of our citizens – a Government that puts the needs of its own people first,” Trump stated, in a foreword addressed to Congress. The budget, which covers the 2018 financial year, is likely to be substantially amended as it goes through Congress.
The State Department section of the budget proposal said the Global Climate Change Initiative (GCCI) would be eliminated. According to its 2016 budget request the GCCI, which was set up by President Barack Obama, directs money to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – the diplomatic and scientific branches of the U.N.’s climate process. Through the GCCI, the State Department is a major funder of the UNFCCC, providing $6.44 million each year – roughly 20 percent of its operating budget. An official told Climate Home the State Department had not provided any funds appropriated in the 2017 financial year to the UNFCCC or IPCC.
Nick Nuttall, spokesperson for the UNFCCC, said: “We understand that the new U.S. administration today published its first budget proposal. We also understand that approval of such a budget can be a long and complex process and we will follow it with interest.” The UNFCCC has been deeply unpopular among conservative Republicans, both for its core mission and for its acceptance of the state of Palestine as a full member. The GOP platform for the 2016 election held that payments to the organisation were against a U.S. law that prohibits payments to U.N. bodies that recognize Palestine. The GCCI is also a major funder of the Montreal Protocol, which protects the ozone layer from harmful chemicals. It was amended last year to control hydrofluorocarbons, a class of potent greenhouse gases used in air conditioners.