Trump’s Budget Continues to Devastate our Common Home

Trump’s budget not only abandons America’s leadership on the global stage in combatting one of the most urgent challenges facing humanity, but abandons our children at home to the mounting dangers of a changing climate.
First responders search a devastated home for survivors in the wake of Hurricane Harvey near Rockport, Texas.
Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection photo by Glenn Fawcett

President Trump’s second budget proposal continues to display the same reckless disregard for our common home—the earth—and its people as witnessed in his first budget and first year in office. The Trump budget not only abandons America’s global leadership abroad in combatting one of the most urgent challenges facing humanity, but abandons our children at home to the mounting dangers of a changing climate.

Trump’s budget proposes to eliminate the entirety of our $160 million in international climate investments, which is abundantly clear will hurt Americans at home. Trump’s budget justifies these cuts as “major savings and reforms” to focus taxpayer dollars on protecting the American people and promoting prosperity.

Yet Trump's head-in-the-sand approach recklessly neglects the 362 or more lives lost and the record $306 billion spent in the U.S. in 2017 alone on weather and climate disasters—including 16 separate $1 billion plus disasters such as Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Irma and massive wildfires across the west. If these mounting climate-fueled disasters aren’t a clear and present danger to American life, property, and prosperity, then what does our President think is?

Cutting 100 percent of America’s investments in cooperating with other countries to combat climate change will also hurt us abroad. These smart investments help to spur reductions of the growing carbon pollution in developing countries through enhanced technologies, and to assist the most vulnerable countries that could become security risks to be more resilient in the face of growing impacts from a changing climate.

These investments also open new markets for American companies to compete in the global clean energy race—worth an estimated $60 trillion in the coming decades—and create American jobs. Many of these companies export their technologies to other countries, which under Trump’s budget would have no investments to speed up the development of clean energy markets.

It is clear that Congress, who ultimately controls the purse strings of the federal budget, recognizes the imperative of America’s international climate investments. In a victory last year, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to retain an amendment by Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon to fund $10 million of the U.S.’s ongoing responsibilities to ensure a seat at the table of the historic Paris Agreement and to support international scientific and technical expertise to study climate change. While this amendment still needs to be included in any appropriations bill to be finalized this year, it is an important signal that puts the Senate on the record as supporting the value of America’s international climate investments.

The President of the United States has the all-important responsibility to protect the American people from the physical, economic, and security threats of climate change. However, Trump’s budget proposal leaves Americans vulnerable to the escalating risks of a changing climate at home, and retreats from global leadership on clean energy and economic competitiveness abroad.

The Trump budget displays a fundamental lack of care for the American people and the global community who share our common home. Congress must reject this reckless budget proposal, and instead invest in our common home to ensure the protection and prosperity of our children for generations to come.

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