Trump Wants To Know How Much Taxpayer Money The State Department Gives Environmental Groups

Michael Bastasch | Energy Editor

President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team is asking the Department of State how much it gives to environmental groups for global warming programs.

“How much does the Department of State contribute annually to international environmental organizations in which the department participates?” reads one question on a list sent to the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, multiple sources told The Washington Post.

It’s not clear what groups Trump is looking at, but before the election, Trump said he’d “cancel billions of dollars in global warming payments to the United Nations” and reallocate that money to domestic environmental projects.

Trump’s team clarified he would “cancel all wasteful climate change spending,” including funding going to the U.N. Trump’s team claims cutting this spending could save $100 billion over eight years. Auditors estimated federal agencies spent $77 billion on climate programs from 2008 and 2013.

Trump could be referring to the Green Climate Fund, or possibly he’s referring to funding given to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

President Obama pledged $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), but has only sent $500 million. The letter has activists riled up.

Indeed, activists were already concerned by a letter sent by the transition team to the Department of Energy (DOE) asking for the names of employees who worked on climate programs and attended the U.N.’s summit.

That questionnaire sparked a conspiracy theory Trump would intimidate scientists and delete public climate data. These theories are completely unsupported by statements from Trump’s team.

Trump’s team disavowed the DOE questionnaire, but it’s already sparked cries from lawmakers to hold hearings on the matter. DOE refused to hand over any employee names to the transition team.

The State Department, on the other hand, said the transition team’s questions were “legitimate.”

“They are legitimately looking at the organization of things here at Foggy Bottom, and asking responsible questions about how the State Department is organized, how it’s resourced, how it’s managed, and trying to get a handle on the organization they will inherit in a few weeks,” an anonymous official told the Post. “It’s legitimate. It’s normal. It’s responsible. If they weren’t doing it, you’d be asking questions.”

“We are helping, providing information on request. If they ask, they get it. We want them to succeed. A big part of that is getting a firm grip on things,” said the source.

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