Will Vermont Pay $20 Million to Green Climate Fund?

by Rob Roper

Last week the governors of New York, California, and Washington announced “the formation of the United States Climate Alliance, a coalition that will convene U.S. states committed to upholding the Paris Climate Agreement and taking aggressive action on climate change.”

As part of that joint announcement, Washington Governor Jay Inslee pledged to, “make sure that the inaction in D.C. is met by an equal force of action from the states.” And, “Today’s announcement by the president leaves the full responsibility of climate action on states and cities throughout our nation.” (Emphasis added) Since then, ten states (including Vermont), and Puerto Rico have joined the coalition and its mission.

Okay. Does this mean that these states are volunteering their citizens to take up the U.S.’s $3 billion (at least) abandoned commitment to the Green Climate Fund? Sure sounds like it. “Upholding“ the agreement, “equal force of action” and “full responsibility” would certainly include that financial obligation, though nobody states this outright.

The Green Climate Fund, “allocates its resources to low-emission and climate-resilient projects and programmes [sic] in developing countries.” Pledges to the fund were designed to incentivize poor nations around the globe to participate and make sure they had the resources to do so.

The New York Times calculated that every U.S. citizen would be obligated to pay $9.41 to meet our commitment to the Green Climate Fund under the Paris Agreement. The members of the States Climate Alliance represent a little less than one third of the country’s total population, so the Alliance’s obligation would jump up to about $32 per person (which could come down if more states join), or $128 for a family of four.

Vermont’s total share of would be about $20 million. Are we down for this? We are having a re-vote on the budget in a couple of weeks.

Somebody needs to ask these governors, including our own, if it is their intention to pass these international financial responsibilities on to the taxpayers of their states. If yes, how do they intend to pay for it? If no, then how does their position differ materially from that of President Trump, who justified pulling out of the Paris Agreement by saying the United States will,

“…continue to be the cleanest and most environmentally friendly country on Earth. We’ll be the cleanest. We’re going to have the cleanest air. We’re going to have the cleanest water. We will be environmentally friendly, but we’re not going to put our businesses out of work and we’re not going to lose our jobs.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Roger Joslin June 6, 2017 at 4:07 pm

Governor Scott is a big disappointment as a conservative republican. This and the issue of bringing Syrian refugees into our state is quite liberal, if you ask me. Take a look at the rest of the world Gov. and make smart decisions, not liberal democrat decisions.


H. Brooke Paige June 6, 2017 at 5:22 pm

I just love to hear big talkers trying to top one another ! Oh, they will make-up the $3B contribution to the “Green Fund” – Right ! Where does Vermont intend to get their $20M from, better yet Puerto Rico spoke up and they don’t have one red cent available as they have just declared bankruptcy ! (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/business/dealbook/puerto-rico-debt-bankruptcy.html?_r=0)

Big Talk from Folks Pledging to Fix a Problem that Doesn’t Exist !


Mary F Daly June 7, 2017 at 11:49 am

I don’t believe that Vermont is under any obligation to send money to other countries to fight climate change. Any money should stay here for us to do our part. Also, I think that humans have some responsibility for global warming but are not the single cause.


Willem Post June 10, 2017 at 2:16 am

Excerpt from:

A total of 193 countries signed on to COP-21, but that means nothing, unless they agree to do something, to undertake pain. The majority of these countries are underdeveloped and developing countries. They signed on to COP-21 in expectation of payments from the Green Climate Fund. Only a few countries have made financial contributions to the Green Climate Fund. See below URLs.

The Fund is administered by the UN. As of 17 May 2017, a total of $10.3 billion had been pledged to the Fund.
– EU member states pledged $4.7 billion (UK $1.2 b; France $1.0 b; Germany $1.0 b; Others $1.5 b)
– US $3.0 billion; already paid $1 billion.
– Rest of World $2.6 billion (Japan $1.5 b; China $0; India $0; Others $1.1 b). See table in URL.

The Fund’s initial goal is to distribute to recipient countries $100 billion in 2020, and much more in EACH YEAR thereafter. The US, about 20% of gross world product, likely would be hit up for $20 billion in 2020, and much more in EACH YEAR thereafter. That Fund likely would become the mother of all boondoggles.

No. Thank you, said Trump. He was not about to let the UN do boondoggle projects with US taxpayer money, especially when considering the insufficient outcomes of almost all prior COP conferences.

If the world is making so little progress towards RE, then the US, “doing its RE part” by staying with COP-21, would be engaging in an expensive exercise in futility.

The RE movement is primarily driven by Europe, Japan and others, because they have insufficient domestic energy resources. Europe, Japan and others want the US to stay with COP-21, as a big source of cash for future financing of the Green Climate Fund, and because they would become less competitive versus the US, if they increased investments in RE and the US did not.

The US, with chronic budget deficits of about $500 billion/y, already has a huge trade handicap, largely due to overinvesting in defense spending to maintain its world leadership peacekeeping role, and underinvesting in the goods and service sectors. For decades, Europe, Japan and others have underinvested in defense, because of the US protection guarantee; only 5 of 29 NATO nations spend at least 2% of GDP on their own defense.

Country Defense Spending
% of GDP
US 3.61
Greece 2.38
UK 2.21
Estonia 2.16
Poland 2.00

Europe, Japan and others have been shirking the world peacekeeping burden, as it would divert investments from their goods and services sectors. Instead, they invested in producing and exporting superior goods and services, which the US did not. This causes the US, hamstrung by having to adhere to World Trade Organization rules, to have chronic trade and budget deficits, each about $500 billion/y.

Europe, Japan and others want to keep the good times rolling, i.e., have the US protect them for free, if possible, in hamstrung mode, with chronic trade and budget deficits, WTO rules, and COP-21 requirements.


Steve Hearne June 10, 2017 at 12:40 pm

I don’t recall voting to become an eastern county of California.


Jim Bulmer June 10, 2017 at 12:56 pm

This movement is ridiculous. If Scott thinks we, the tax payers in Vermont, will support him on this particular issue, he’s in for a BIG surprise in 2018. Also where are India and China in this discussion. They’re by far the worst offenders. President Trump was right to pull the plug on the Paris Accords.


William Hays June 13, 2017 at 2:49 am

I find it appalling that Gov. Scott would join with the total loons of CA, WA, NY, and PR in this silliness. Has he become a Progressive-Socialist?


Willem Post June 13, 2017 at 9:11 pm

My comment has been “awaiting moderation” for days.

What is the problem?


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