The Real Story on Climate Finance

By Larry J. Schweiger

As we await word here in Copenhagen about a possible climate deal, Eric Haxthausen with The Nature Conservancy highlights in his National Journal blog “The Real Story on Climate Finance” on some of the progress made so far: yesterday’s statement by Secretary of State Clinton that the U.S. “…is prepared to work with other countries toward a goal of jointly mobilizing $100 billion a year by 2020 to address the climate change needs of developing countries…” and Secretary Vilsack’s announcement that the U.S. is committing $1 billion to reduce tropical deforestation.

Regarding Secretary Vilsack’s statement:

The U.S. commitment of  $1 billion over three years to build capacity for participating in these  [deforestation] programs, is an important first step that will more than pay itself back in  the long run.  It has already leveraged $2.5 billion in pledges from other countries, and contributions from  additional countries are expected.”

Regarding Secretary Clinton’s announcement:

The U.S. share would include private funding “…meaning that even with this increase, U.S. foreign aid spending would remain in range of one percent of the federal budget.”

These figures don’t include the myriad other benefits we’ll gain by protecting forests and reducing global warming pollution.