Trump’s Budget Proposal Is Careless of our Common Home

Credit: Source: USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance

The budget proposal released by Trump reveals his reckless disrespect for the care of our common home, its climate, and its people. Trump’s budget dangerously neglects growing threats around the world—including a changing climate—that will make Americans less safe and secure, especially the most vulnerable. Congress must be abundantly clear that this preliminary budget is dead on arrival, and that they will only approve a budget that actually protects the health and security of Americans and our common home.

The Trump Administration’s budget request seeks nearly a 1/3rd cut in the budget of international programs relative to current levels. These cuts include the Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development that invest in shared security and promote prosperity around the world. Specifically, the budget proposes the elimination of all U.S. international climate financing. These smart investments help to spur the reduction of growing carbon pollution in developing countries through enhanced technologies, and to assist the most vulnerable countries in becoming more resilient in the face of mounting impacts from a changing climate. The investments also open new markets for American clean energy and energy efficiency companies to compete in the global clean energy race and create American jobs.

These programs benefit Americans—a point Trump's budget director clearly failed to grasp when he dismissed climate programs by saying: “we consider that to be a waste of your money”. International climate investments account for less than 4 cents of every $100 dollars in the U.S. budget, and help promote the global stability that Americans want.

Eliminating U.S. support for international climate action is not a smart way to advance our interests. The global clean energy market is projected to be over $60 trillion over the coming decades, according to the International Energy Agency. Recent analysis shows there are some 3 million clean energy jobs in the U.S. that are spread throughout all 50 states. Many of these companies export their technologies to other countries. As a result, global progress on clean energy deployment helps American companies and workers by creating new export opportunities and keeping jobs at home. Smart U.S. international investments help speed up these markets by working with key countries to develop tangible projects that will help transform markets for wind, solar, energy efficiency, and other clean energy opportunities around the world.

And by not investing in climate-resilient solutions now, Americans will need to spend additional and unnecessary sums of hard-earned tax dollars down the road to clean up after the damages of increasingly extreme weather—both at home and abroad. American support to help countries become more resilient to climate impacts is a smart investment to reduce the global instability caused by climate change.

These investments are effective and based on strong economic principles. One of the funds that the U.S. has invested in leverages $6 of financing from the private sector and country budgets for each $1 of public financing from the U.S. Which is why President George W. Bush started to ramp-up these investments as he recognized they were in the national interest—both economically and environmentally—and received bipartisan support for his $2 billion commitment to climate investments in 2008.

Trump’s budget proclaims that it is time to “ask the rest of the world to step up and pay its fair share” of foreign aid and climate assistance. In fact, all of America’s allies, and even competitors such as China, are making smart investments around the world in the clean energy economy and climate resilience. China has pledged $3.1 billion to assist developing countries in addressing climate change. Germany currently provides $2.2 billion a year in international climate support, and will double that to $4.5 billion a year by 2020. In our non-alternative fact universe, the rest of the world should be asking Trump to step up and pay America’s fair share to reduce the security and safety risks of climate change.

The President of the United States has the weighty responsibility to protect the American people from the health, economic, and direct impacts of climate change. Trump’s budget proposal leaves Americans vulnerable to the escalating risks of climate change, and retreats from American global leadership on clean energy—ceding competitive advantage and jobs to other countries. And withdrawing our international climate investments will only hamstring the prospects for progress with other countries on key issues such as trade and security.

Trump’s budget displays a lack of care for Americans and the global community who share our common home. Congress should dismiss it outright, and ensure the appropriated budget truly serves to protect our collective health and security.

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