In December the United Nations will convene in Paris, for the purpose of hammering out an international agreement on climate change. Reaching an agreement has become a “legacy issue” for President Obama, and his administration is devoting enormous resources towards the successful completion of this task. In March the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change distributed draft language to serve as options for the agreement that may be decided in December. In a previous IER post I showed how the two climate change goals adopted in the UN text could not be justified, using the UN’s own scientific reports, and how the draft language opened the doors to massive international bureaucracies. In this post I’ll focus specifically on the enormous wealth transfers from rich to poor countries that are being proposed in the draft—as high as annual transfers in excess of $100 billion from the United States alone, according to some of the language. To be sure, at this stage these ludicrous suggestions are merely a “wish list,” but average Americans should realize just how much of their money will be on the buffet line when the UN delegates meet in December. In November President Obama already pledged $3 billion for such efforts, and the new UN proposal shows how much more the most zealous advocates have in mind.

The UN’s $100 Billion+ Bonanza

Anyone with the stamina to click on the link and skim through the UN’s draft language will see that the 90-page document is very redundant. However, the following excerpt gives a good sampling of a theme reiterated throughout:

  1. [Scale of resources provided by developed country Parties shall be based on a percentage of their GNP of at least (X per cent) taking into consideration the following:
  2. The provision of finance to be based on a floor of USD 100 billion per year, and shall take into account the different assessment of climate-related finance needs prepared by the secretariat and reports by other international organizations;
  3. Based on an ex ante process to commit quantified support relative to the required effort and in line with developing countries’ needs… [UNFCCC Negotiating Text, p. 43]

Later on, in section 96, the document states, “a. Developed country Parties to provide 1 per cent of gross domestic product per year from 2020 and additional funds during the pre-2020 period to the GCF [Green Climate Fund]…” (bold added).

Thus we see that this negotiating text contains more than a simple pledge for various countries to cap their emissions—it also includes enormous transfers of money from rich to developing countries. If the particular suggestion quoted above from section 96 were to be implemented, it would entail some $175 billion annually in transfers from Americans (because U.S. GDP is currently above $17.5 trillion). Note that this is in addition to conventional foreign aid programs—the UN document makes that clear, elsewhere. The sole (ostensible) purpose of these dedicated funds is to help poorer countries deal with climate change. The recipient countries will no doubt be quite creative in justifying all sorts of infrastructure and other spending projects necessary to combat climate change.

Now, a reasonable reader might think, “Well, supposing the ‘pause’ in global warming continues, they’d probably scale back the funds needed for adaptation, right?” But such common sense would be mistaken. On page 22 of the document we learn that “since adaptation efforts will need to be undertaken far in advance of the temperature rise,” therefore “planning for adaptation and undertaking adaptation should be based on an evaluation of temperature scenarios that are expected to result from particular levels of mitigation action…

In other words, the authors of this proposed treaty language want the transfer spigot turned on with no accountability. So long as they can point to future damages that occur inside a computer simulation, the United States and other wealthy countries will be expected to cough up billions of dollars to fight the computer-projected threat of future climate change damage.

Already, the Green Climate Fund is beefing up staff, with openings ranging from “gender social specialist” to “marketing consultant” whose duties include “helping to shape the brand of the fund.” It is quite clear from the bureaucratic progress of the Green Climate Fund that they mean business (of some kind) and are counting on the money to fund their multiple activities.


The UN has released the Negotiating Text of the possible treaty that may come out of talks in Paris in December. Americans should familiarize themselves with the main items contained in this document. In a previous IER post I showed that the UN document adopts climate change goals that the UN’s own reports can’t justify, and furthermore would create a huge new international bureaucracy.

In the present post, I quoted from the document to show the desire to fund these unaccountable extra-national organizations with an enormous flow of money taken from rich countries. Although the demands are so ludicrous that they should be viewed as a “wish list,” it is nonetheless instructive—and alarming—to see just how expensive they could be. According to one idea contained in the text that the UN has released, the U.S. would be expected to contribute more than $175 billion annually into the giant pot of money. President Obama in November already pledged $3 billion to such an effort. How far do Americans want to go along?

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