Trump Says Plan to End Climate Spending Would Save $100B

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By Renee Schoof and Dean Scott

Nov. 1 — Donald Trump says he would save $100 billion over eight years by cutting all federal climate change spending—a sum his campaign says would be achieved by eliminating domestic and international climate programs.

“We’re going to put America first. That includes canceling billions in climate change spending for the United Nations, a number Hillary wants to increase, and instead use that money to provide for American infrastructure including clean water, clean air and safety,” the Republican presidential candidate said Oct. 31 at a rally in Warren, Mich. “We’re giving away billions and billions and billions of dollars,” he said.

In a policy statement from his campaign on the same day, “New Deal for Black America,” Trump said he would “cancel all wasteful climate change spending” under the Obama administration and plans by Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, a sum that Trump said would total $100 billion over eight years.

Trump Campaign Explains Number

The Trump campaign did not give a specific tally to account for the $100 billion total in response to a query from Bloomberg BNA.

But in an e-mail, the campaign press office said that the figure combined an estimate of what the Obama administration had spent on climate-related programs, the amount of U.S. contributions to an international climate fund that Trump would cancel, and a calculation of what Trump believes would be savings to the economy if Obama’s and Clinton’s climate policies were reversed.

The Trump campaign said the $100 billion total included $50 billion, or what it estimated the Obama administration has spent on programs related to climate change.

“Eliminating that spending will save similar amounts over the Trump administration,” it said.

Spending Estimate

The e-mail said the estimate was based on a Congressional Research Service report in 2013 that looked at federal climate change funding from fiscal year 2008 to the administration’s budget request for FY 2014.

However, that report did not estimate the administration’s full spending related to climate change over eight years. The nonpartisan research service reported that direct federal spending to address global climate change totaled about $77 billion from FY 2008 through FY 2013, and that 75 percent of that amount was for technology development and deployment, mostly through the Department of Energy.

The report said that the breakdown in the administration’s FY 2014 request of $11.6 billion for these programs was about 68 percent for energy technology, 23 percent for science, 8 percent for international assistance and 1 percent for adaptation to climate change.

No Money for International Fund

Trump has said he would also cancel commitments for an international fund to help poor nations reduce carbon pollution and adapt to climate impacts. Negotiators at the 2015 Paris climate talks formalized a pledge for developed nations to ramp up donations to $100 billion per year by 2020.

Roughly one-third of that amount is projected to come from private sources. The U.S. is providing a fraction of the $100 billion total today, with the U.K., the European Union and more than 30 other nations pledging significant sums.

The U.S. pledged $3 billion over four years to a related Green Climate Fund that is counted toward the pledge. Congressional Republicans have fought unsuccessfully to kill the funding. The U.S. paid $500 million to the fund in March.

Total U.S. climate finance for developing countries—for adaptation, clean energy and sustainable landscape activities, but also development assistance and export credits—totaled $15.6 billion over six years between 2010 and 2015, according to a December 2015 State Department fact sheet, or roughly about $2.6 billion a year.

Trump in an often-quoted tweet in 2012 wrote, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

The Congressional Research Service in another 2013 report said that climate change was no longer controversial.

Broad scientific agreement exists on many points, it said, including that the Earth’s climate is warming and that “human-related emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants have contributed to warming observed since the 1970s and, if continued, would tend to drive further warming, sea level rise, and other climate shifts.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Dean Scott in Washington at DScott@bna.com; Renee Schoof in Washington at rschoof@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com

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