Senate Republicans say the United States has to stop funding the United Nations’ climate change agency because Palestine is a member.
A Monday letter led by Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoGOP working to lock down votes on McConnell debt deal Congress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight Sunday shows - Spotlight shifts to omicron variant MORE (R-Wyo.) to Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryClimate policies propel a growing dysfunction of Western democracies Kerry calls out countries that need to 'step up' on climate change Those on the front lines of climate change should be empowered to be central to its solution MORE says the $10 million the United States sends annually to the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) must be cut off.
The climate agency is the international body responsible for last year’s Paris climate agreement, the Green Climate Fund and generally international efforts to cut the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The Paris agreement, the climate fund and other UNFCCC actions are frequent targets for Republicans who don’t want the United States to be subject to international climate rules.
The GOP cites a 1994 law, which prohibits U.S. money from going to any UN agency that admits as a member a country that is not internationally recognized as sovereign.
“We request that you ensure that no disbursements of U.S. funds are made to the UNFCCC and its related entities after March 17, 2016,” the Republicans wrote, citing the date of Palestine’s membership. “We believe that your failure to do so will constitute a violation of current law.”
The argument has some precedent. In 2011, the United States cut off funding to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) after it granted membership to Palestine. The Obama administration wants to restore funding, but says it cannot under the 1994 law.
In recent years, the UNFCCC has gotten $10 million annually from the United States. The Green Climate Fund got a $500 million payment this year.
Both the annual $10 million and the $750 million President Obama has proposed this year for the climate fund are at risk.