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Budget includes $500M in foreign climate aid

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President Obama is asking Congress for $500 million to help poor countries fight global warming and adapt to the expected consequences of climate change.

The $500 million requested Monday for a contribution to the United Nations’s Global Climate Fund is the main part of $1.29 billion Obama wants for various international climate efforts.

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The United Nations wants to raise $100 billion annually by 2020 and is asking developed countries’ governments to provide the bulk of it.

The Obama administration is arguing that the fund will ultimately help U.S. interests.

“By reducing the most catastrophic risks of climate change, the GCF will help promote smart, sustainable long-term economic growth and preserve stability and security in fragile regions of strategic importance to the United States,” the White House Office of Management and Budget wrote in an outline of its $4 trillion funding proposal for fiscal 2016.

“The United States expects that the GCF will become a preeminent, effective, and efficient channel for climate finance,” it said.

Obama pledged in November that the United States would pay $3 billion over the next four years into the climate fund. It’s a component of his second-term climate change push, which includes international cooperation as one of three pillars.

The funding request is likely to face an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled Congress, where the dual issues of foreign aid and climate change will make it a tough sell.

After Obama announced the $3 billion pledge, Sen. James InhofeJames Inhofe House passes water bill with Flint aid, drought relief Fight over water bill heats up in Senate Trump taps Oklahoma attorney general to lead EPA MORE (R-Okla.), now chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, called it an “unfortunate decision to not listen to voters in this most recent election cycle,” and promised to fight it.

“The president’s climate change agenda has only siphoned precious taxpayer dollars away from the real problems facing the American people,” he said.

Republicans targeted the Green Climate Fund in the December funding bill for fiscal 2015, which included a provision that none of the money in that bill could be used for the climate fund.

While that provision expires when the bill’s term ends in October, it nonetheless signals that Republicans will not be kind to requests for the fund.

Apart from the Green Climate Fund, Obama’s budget proposes to use the green foreign aid “to expand clean and efficient energy use, to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and conserve the world’s remaining tropical rainforests, to phase down chemicals with high global warming potential, and to support the poorest and most vulnerable communities in their efforts to cope with the adverse impacts of severe weather events and climate change,” the White House said.