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Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte announced on July 18 his administration would not honor the December 2015 Paris agreement on climate change, calling agreement “stupid” and “absurd.” The Philippines signed the Paris agreement but has yet to ratify it, which now seems unlikely based on Duterte’s statements. Duterte says the international treaty would stymie the country’s industrial growth. The issue arose when a foreign ambassador reminded Duterte of the country’s commitment to limit its carbon emissions. Duterte told the ambassador the climate change agreement was forged just when the Philippines was on its way to develop its own industries, stating, “Now that we’re developing, you will impose a limit? That’s absurd. … They [industrialized countries] think that they can dictate the destiny of the rest of the [world].” Going further Duterte said, “We have not reached the age of industrialization. We’re now going into it. But you are trying to stymie [our growth] with an agreement that says you can only go up to here. That’s stupid…. That was not my signature. I will not honor that.”
While the Philippines is rejecting the UN’s Paris Climate Deal, the U.S. Congress seems intent on halting all funding to the UN’s Green Climate Fund.
On July 12, the House Appropriations Committee rejected an amendment by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) to the House State Department and foreign operations spending bill to let the federal government contribute to the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund (GCF). Texas Rep. Kay Granger (R) objected to the amendment, noting it would “strike language preventing the administration from carrying out its harmful climate change policies.” Lowey’s proposal failed on a 20–29 vote.
Although the Obama administration has pledged $3 billion for the GCF, Congress, which constitutionally controls the purse, has rejected such spending. The 2015 year-end spending deal didn’t include the $500 million Obama wanted for the GCF, but the State Department provided the funding anyway, arguing, because the deal didn’t explicitly prohibit GCF spending, it could shift the $500 million from other accounts to contribute to the GCF.
To prevent such fund- shifting in the future, Appropriations Committee Republicans in both the House and Senate included GCF funding prohibitions in their 2017 State Department spending bills.
Granger, chairwoman of the State Department appropriations subcommittee, said she received more member requests to block GCF spending than for any other program.
At least some political leaders are not being buffaloed into funding flawed, costly, ineffective climate change boondoggles. Hallelujah!