December 01, 2009

Kerry Urges Secretary Clinton: Increased Global Climate Aid Essential to Success in Copenhagen

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and lead author of the Senate's comprehensive climate change legislation, wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today urging increased global aid to support international climate change priorities. These issues will be debated during the international negotiations later this month in Copenhagen.

A significant gap exists "between the international climate funds committed in the President's FY10 budget (approximately $1.2 billion) and the expected revenue that will be generated from a cap-and-trade program beginning in 2012," wrote Kerry. "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."


The full text of the 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 President's 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 USAID's 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.

Sincerely,


John F. Kerry

CC: Peter Richard Orszag

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