The Biden administration’s initial budget proposal reflects the President’s commitment to turning the page on the Trump administration’s harmful policies, but it does not go far enough to address the many crises that the world is facing.
First, while $1.2 billion for the Green Climate Fund (GCF) is a step in the right direction, it is not even enough to fulfill the outstanding $2 billion of our existing commitment to the GCF. In addition to fulfilling the current pledge, the administration should make a new $6 billion commitment to the GCF, in line with what other contributor countries have already pledged. If President Biden wants the United States to be seen as a climate leader, he needs to do much more than the $1.2 billion in this budget request. Civil society and members of Congress have urged $4 billion in FY22 funding for the GCF.
The budget includes $100 million for “international climate adaptation programs,” which is encouraging, as this money will have direct and material impacts on the lives of the most vulnerable communities around the world. The skinny budget is not specific about where this money will go. We urge that it be contributed to the Adaptation Fund under the Paris Agreement.
We are also eager to hear more about the administration’s plans for addressing agricultural development and global food security. While COVID-19 is a health crisis, it has also been a hunger crisis in far too many places, and progress in reducing hunger has been lost. We hope to see a commitment to acting on this in the President’s full budget, for example through pledging funding for the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP).
Finally, we are disappointed that the budget does not reduce defense spending from the astronomical levels it reached under the Trump administration. In our recently released US Fair Shares NDC, we call on the United States to provide $800 billion over the period 2021-2030 as a down payment on our fair share of international climate finance. The Pentagon budget is nearly this entire total – in a single fiscal year. There is no better example of how the money exists to build the more just and sustainable world we need – it is simply not being spent on the right things.
As Congress begins writing the appropriations bills, we urge them to build on the non-defense side of this initial budget and increase funding to better address the climate crisis and global food insecurity.