Our Budget Gridlock Is Endangering International Climate and Clean Energy Investments

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As Congress continues to operate without a budget and faces the prospect of a government shutdown on October 1, appropriations for crucial investments in international climate change mitigation and adaptation hang in the balance. While the Senate Appropriations Committee passed the fiscal year 2014 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations bill, which maintains spending consistent with last year’s climate investments, the House Appropriations Committee voted to eliminate or significantly cut $10 billion for foreign-affairs programs. This vast difference means that international climate and clean energy investments—and their high rewards—are in danger.

The effects of international climate change—which include more droughts, floods, and tropical storms—threaten to undo tremendous progress toward increased prosperity in the developing world. In areas of the world that already have complex and delicate geopolitical situations, climate change could displace populations and further destabilize governments. The formation of alliances and partnerships on environmental and climate initiatives with major emerging economies such as India, Indonesia, China, and Brazil that will help us meet other foreign policy objectives is at risk—and so too is international security.

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