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By Michael Bastasch
The Trump administration will use its position as a donor to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to steer money towards coal-fired power plants and natural gas infrastructure, according to an unnamed White House official.
President Donald Trump will do his best to use the Obama administration’s $1 billion donation to the GCF to “advance American-energy interests globally,” the official told Bloomberg.
Trump will build on his G20 pledge to “work closely with other countries to help them access and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently,” and has already begun rolling back Obama-era restrictions on international financing of coal plants.
Trump pledged to eliminate funding for UN global warming programs, but his administration still has a seat at the negotiating table, thanks to the $1 billion the Obama administration handed the GCF before leaving office.
The GCF was set up in 2010 for rich countries to deposit money that would be used to fund green energy and global warming mitigation projects in poor countries. President Barack Obama pledged $3 billion to the fund, but only gave $1 billion.
The GCF became a major focus in the negotiations of the Paris climate accord, and would play a role in the $100 billion per year pledge for climate funding rich countries made to poor ones.
Trump announced that he would withdraw from the Paris accord in early June, but his administration will work to make sure that taxpayer dollars already handed over to the UN help advance U.S. interests.
Environmentalists were outraged at the news, and the Sierra Club’s John Coequyt said that Trump’s plan is like “taking the fire department’s budget and using it to pour gasoline on the blaze.”
Trump’s energy policy centers around U.S. “energy dominance,” rather than fighting global warming. The president called the Paris accord a plan to redistribute wealth from the U.S. to economic competitors, like China, who would not be bound to reduce emissions and could get money from the UN.
“This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States,” Trump said in early June when announcing his intention to withdraw from the agreement.
“The agreement doesn’t eliminate coal jobs, it just transfers those jobs out of America and ships them to other countries,” Trump said.