Energy

Lawmakers Demand Obama Disclose What He Spent On Global Warming Programs

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor

House lawmakers sent a letter to the White House Monday demanding an up-to-date list of how much federal agencies spend on global warming-related programs.

The budget law, passed in late 2015, required the Obama administration to detail all its global warming expenditures, but so far, the White House hasn’t handed anything over to lawmakers.

A 2013 White House report detailed more than $20 billion in global warming-related spending and was supposed to deliver such information to Congress by June, but that didn’t happen.

“We believe it is important that there be transparency and accountability with regard to the climate change related expenditures across the federal government, and that Congress and the public should know how much is spent by federal agencies, and for what purpose,” lawmakers wrote.

The chairmen of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the House Committee on Appropriations sent the letter to Shaun Donovan, director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Congress included a provision in the last-minute budget deal that was hashed out in December, 2015, requiring OMB to submit “a comprehensive report … describing in detail all Federal agency funding, domestic and international, for climate change programs, projects, and activities in fiscal years 2015 and 2016.”

The budget provision was included after President Obama pledged billions of dollars to global warming-related programs.

Obama pledged $3 billion to the United Nations Green Climate Fund and said he’d spend $10 billion on green energy research. So far, Obama’s only been able to spend $500 million of his Green Climate Fund pledge.

The White House reported to Congress in 2013 that it spent $22.2 billion on global warming programs that year. That number included scientific research, international climate assistance and green energy technology subsidies.

For perspective, the $22.2 billion in global warming spending was nearly twice as much as the government said it would spend on customs and border enforcement.

Obama’s 2014 budget request only asked for $12 billion to fund the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency. The White House projected it would spend $21.4 billion on global warming in 2014.

Lawmakers’ request comes as President-elect Donald Trump gets ready to take office in January. Trump has said he’d deal with the U.S. national debt by growing the economy and getting rid of government waste.

Could this be a list of places to cut?

It’s not clear, but the Congressional Research Service reported in 2013 the federal government spent $77 billion on global warming programs over the previous five years.

Three-quarters of that came from funding green energy production though the Department of Energy. Trump’s reported Energy Secretary pick, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, said DOE was one of the agencies he’d cut when running for president in 2012.

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