President Barack Obama and the U.N. pledged Monday to spend another $20 billion on “green” energy over the next five years, but they admit they have no idea where the money will come from or how it will be spent.
At the 2009 U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen, one of the few firm agreements was that rich countries would give poorer countries $100 billion annually in financial support for “green” power by 2020. Despite six years of waiting, it still isn’t clear where this money is supposed to come from, which energy technologies will receive funding, or how the cash will be distributed.
Currently, the U.S. spends about $5 billion annually in energy R&D for other countries. Obama and world leaders from 19 other countries want to double that amount. The U.S. subsidizes solar and other renewable energy in the United States with $39 billion in taxpayer money annually. To put those numbers in perspective, the entire Department of Energy budget request for 2016 is only $29.9 billion.
Attempts by the U.S. and other Western countries to finance “green” power in developing countries were partially bribes intended to build political support for international agreements against global warming. However, in recent years, environmental organizations and media outlets like The New York Times claim such wealth transfers help pay down “climate debt” and that the U.S. has “a historical responsibility to repay” such debt.
Either buying cooperation or paying down “climate debt” isn’t coming cheap. For example, India made it clear it will only begin reducing its emissions if it receives substantial financial assistance from Western countries, equivalent to $2.5 trillion over the next 15 years in direct aid, grants, and cheap financing. India rejected a global warming deal with the U.S. in January despite Obama’s offers to pay for some of the deal.
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