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Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Budget Negotiations to Affect Public Health and Environment
Press Release

RELEASE: Budget Negotiations to Affect Public Health and Environment

WASHINGTON, D.C.–This week the Center for American Progress released two briefs on how the current budget negotiations would affect our environment and public health—“Protecting Big Oil at the Expense of the Future,” by Daniel J. Weiss and Richard Caperton, and “The Fight Over International Climate Investments, by Andrew Light and Rebecca Lefton.

Protecting Big Oil at the Expense of the Future” highlights the fact that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s FY 2012 budget resolution benefits big oil companies, at the expense of middle-class Americans, by retaining $40 billion in Big Oil loopholes and eliminating clean energy investments that are vital to our nation’s economic growth.

In addition to receiving $40 billion of unnecessary tax breaks, Big Oil does not pay its fair share of royalties for oil and gas produced from publicly owned waters. The Government Accountability Office estimates that a loophole in a 1990s oil-and-gas law could deprive the treasury of $53 billion in lost royalties. Although Ryan’s budget claims that it “stops spending money the government doesn’t have,” it does nothing to recoup these forgone funds.

It would also slash investments in the research, development, and deployment of the clean energy technologies of the future, weakening the economy and increasing the deficit by disinvesting in long-term economic growth the clean-tech sector fosters. It would cut clean energy investments by more than half for FY 2011, by two-thirds for FY 2013, and by 90 percent in 2014 to just $1 billion.

For the full brief, click here.

The Fight Over International Climate Investments” outlines why it is essential to avoid deep cuts to international climate investments and assistance in order to stabilize our climate, protect public health and create opportunities for U.S. companies. Moreover, the United States’s ability to reduce our own domestic emissions, and contribute to the global funds that collectively bring down global emissions to tolerable levels, is essential for maintaining our credibility in the international arena, given the failure of Congress to pass comprehensive climate legislation.

The original House continuing resolution, or CR, for the fiscal year 2011 budget slashes international clean energy and climate program funds to a debilitating level and eliminates entire programs that are crucial for helping developing countries adapt and advance on a low-emission economic trajectory. The programs slated for the most severe cuts include those that focus on the ramp up of clean energy technology in large-emitting developing countries, carbon financing to reduce deforestation, and developing climate resilience strategies for poorer countries to develop land use and ecosystem practices that could save millions from the impacts of warming.

International aid—including climate assistance—should be a priority in the budget because it is an investment in America’s long-term security. Without international assistance there is little motivation for other countries to cooperate with us on our security goals. This priority is reflected in the president’s 2012 budget, while Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget would make the climate investment milestones impossible to achieve. Combined with the expected cuts this year from any budget compromise the United States could effectively get dealt out of a large part of the international climate negotiations.

For the full brief, click here.

To speak with the CAP experts, please contact Christina DiPasquale at 202-481-8181 or [email protected].