The United States has risked alienating developing countries hardest hit by the climate crisis, after Congress delivered only a fraction of the money promised by Joe Biden to help poorer nations adapt to worsening storms, floods and droughts.
Biden has pledged $11.4 billion each year for developing countries to alleviate climate impacts and help them switch to renewable energy, but the vast $1.7 trillion spending bill to keep the US government runningPassed by the Senate on Thursday, it includes less than $1 billion in climate assistance for these countries.
The bill, which is expected to pass the House and be signed by the president, includes $270 million for adaptation programs, primarily for Asian and Pacific Island countries, along with $260 million in energy investment. clean, destined for Africa. Another $185 million will go to “sustainable landscape programs.”
Failure to follow through on Biden’s promise so far risks undermining the White House’s insistence that the US is committed to helping deal with the fallout from a climate crisis of which it is one of the chief instigators, through its enormous historical and current greenhouse gas emissions. Developing countries will need anything from $340 billion a 2 trillion dollars per year by 2030, according to various studies, to deal with the cascading impacts of global warming.
Saleemul Huq, director of the Bangladesh-based International Center for Climate Change and Development, said the fair share of US climate aid exceeds even what Biden promised. “So a billion is really an insult to developing countries,” he said. “The paltry allocation of just $1 billion to support developing countries is extremely disappointing.”
US environmental groups have welcomed elements of the spending bill, including a big increase in the budgets for the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of the Interior, as well as $600 million for water infrastructure in Jackson. , Mississippi, but criticized the apparent lack of climate aid.
“Funding levels for international climate aid are woefully inadequate to meet our global commitments or do our fair share to support resource-poor countries that bear the brunt of climate impacts,” said Sara Chieffo, vice president for affairs. Governments of the League of Conservation Voters. .
The Biden administration had made climate spending a priority, with John Kerry, the US climate envoy, sent to lobby lawmakers. Both Biden and Kerry attended the Cop27 UN climate talks in Egypt last month and vowed that the United States would step up its assistance. “The climate crisis is hitting hardest those countries and communities that have the fewest resources to respond and recover,” Biden said in his address to the delegates at the summitrepeating his promise to extract the required money from Congress.
Administration officials say the goal is to deliver the assistance by 2024 and that the money could come from sources other than direct appropriations from Congress. But the chance of doing this becomes much more remote once Republicans, who have largely rejected the idea of providing more aid for weather damage, gain control of the House of Representatives in January.
A White House spokeswoman said the $11 billion goal is “a top priority for us and critical to the success of President Biden’s climate agenda. And the president has made it clear that he is going to fight for this to be fully funded.
“Over the past several weeks and over the past weekend, members of the administration have worked to secure funding in (financial year) 2023 that puts us on track to achieve this goal. We will continue to work with Congress to make achieving this goal a reality by (fiscal year) 2024.”