Senator John F. Kerry today urged the State Department to consider increasing the US financial commitment to support international climate change priorities as officials prepare for the Copenhagen summit starting next week.
President Obama's 2009-10 budget includes about $1.2 billion, but Kerry wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that $3 billion in 2010-11 is needed.
A Senate bill, like the bill passed by the House in June, sets aside about 7 percent of proceeds from selling pollution credits "to international efforts to promote clean energy technologies, reduce emissions from deforestation, and address adaptation needs," Kerry wrote in a letter released by his office.
"The global community has agreed that $10 billion is required annually in fast-start financing to support immediate international climate change priorities. The United States must be prepared to contribute its fair share of this obligation," he added.
The Massachusetts Democrat is a lead author of the climate change bill he is trying to shepherd through the Senate and as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee has emphasized global warming as a national security issue.
His full letter is below:
December 1, 2009
The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Clinton:
We are approaching a critical juncture in the global effort to address the urgent challenge of climate change. For the first time in over a decade, the United States is poised to play a strong leadership role in this debate. As articulated in the Bali Action Plan, a core element of any international climate change agreement must be a substantial climate finance package.
The United States Congress has already indicated its support for such a package. The House of Representatives dedicated 7% of the allowance value from a cap and trade system to international efforts to promote clean energy technologies, reduce emissions from deforestation, and address adaptation needs. The legislation moving through the Senate includes similar levels of funding for these priorities.
However, we face a large gap between the international climate funds committed in the Presidentís FY10 budget (approximately $1.2 billion) and the expected revenue that will be generated from a cap-and-trade program beginning in 2012. It is critical that we advance these base funding levels to enable our agencies to ramp up programs to address adaptation, clean energy deployment and deforestation in developing countries. Key agencies, including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), are not yet equipped to absorb the significant increase in financing we expect through a comprehensive climate change package. For example, the FY10 budget includes only $140 million for USAIDís forest-related activities, an order of magnitude less than the funds that are likely to be dedicated through climate change legislation.
In addition, as we approach the Copenhagen climate change negotiations, the global community has agreed that $10 billion is required annually in fast-start financing to support immediate international climate change priorities. The United States must be prepared to contribute its fair share of this obligation.
Therefore, I urge you to include $3 billion in international climate finance in the FY11 budget to support our short-term climate finance obligations and create the necessary glide path to enable our federal agencies to fully and effectively utilize the increased resources Congress will make available to them through climate change legislation.
Thank you for your leadership in addressing global climate change, and I look forward to working with you to secure these critical resources.
John F. Kerry
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.