Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC Christiana Figueres, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, President-designate of COP21 Laurent Fabius, and France's President Francois Hollande, Dec. 12, 2015. 
Photo by Arnaud BOUISSOU/COP21/Anadolu Agency/Getty

GOP objections won’t derail international climate deal

It’s been clear all year that congressional Republicans would be hostile towards any international agreement to address the climate crisis, but the GOP wouldn’t able to derail it. There was one lingering concern, though: if Congress blocked funding to help developing countries adapt to rising sea levels, it would be a real setback to global efforts.
 
It now appears, however, that climate deniers have lost on this front, too. The Hill reports:
In a victory for the Obama administration, the spending package released by congressional leaders on Wednesday won’t block American financial contributions to an international climate fund for poorer nations.
 
The bill, greens and Democrats say, doesn’t explicitly appropriate funding for President Obama’s pledged contribution to the Green Climate Fund (GCF). But since the legislation doesn’t formally block money for the GCF either, Obama is expected to be able to use current discretionary funding streams to send American money to it.
President Obama has already pledged a $3 billion investment in Green Climate Fund over several years, including a $500 million installment now. It wasn’t clear how fierce Republican opposition to the aid would be.
 
And now we know: GOP lawmakers didn’t put up much of a fight at all. Rebecca Leber joked the other day, “Congress is so inept, it can’t even block Barack Obama’s climate agenda.”
 
More broadly speaking, it’s also worth pausing to appreciate the fact that one of the most important diplomatic agreements in a generation is being almost entirely ignored by the Republican presidential candidates who hate it. New York Times reported this week:
President Obama hailed the landmark climate accord reached this weekend as “the best chance we’ve had to save the one planet that we’ve got.” To the Republicans vying to succeed him, it was almost as if the deal never happened.
 
In a stark display of the partisan divide in the United States over climate change, the Republican presidential candidates have said almost nothing about the Paris Agreement, even though whoever succeeds Mr. Obama will be tasked with carrying it out. Of the nine who will participate in Tuesday’s prime-time debate on CNN, only Gov. John Kasich of Ohio would provide an assessment of the deal when asked on Sunday.
It’s not altogether clear why, exactly, national GOP candidates are saying so little, but on balance, it’s probably a good thing for those who support the Obama administration’s policy.
 
 

Climate Change and Global Warming

GOP objections won't derail international climate deal