US panel votes to bar climate funding

Jul 21, 2011
A panel of the US Congress moved to bar foreign assistance related to climate change, defying President Barack Obama's calls to contribute as part of an international accord.

A panel of the US Congress on Thursday moved to bar foreign assistance related to climate change, defying President Barack Obama's calls to contribute as part of an international accord.

On a party line vote, the Republican-led House Foreign Affairs Committee voted to ban in next year's budget for Obama's initiative to support poor nations in adapting to climate change or pursuing clean energy.

But the measure's future is uncertain as other committees also have jurisdiction over climate funding including in the Senate, where Obama's Democratic Party is in control.

Representative Connie Mack, a Republican from Florida, said he proposed the funding cut as "we have to prioritize US tax dollars." Jean Schmidt, a Republican from Ohio, questioned if human activity was causing climate change.

Democrats attacked the move. Representative Howard Berman, the top Democrat on the committee, said it would cut off funding for vulnerable populations that are already feeling the .

Gerry Connolly, a Democrat from Virginia, likened the Republican effort to the 1925 Scopes monkey trial in which a Tennessee teacher was taken to court for teaching evolution.

Obama requested some $1.3 billion in the fiscal year starting in October for his Initiative, according to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service.

The funding would include assistance to the poorest nations including small islands feeling the brunt of climate change, as well as efforts to encourage clean energy and to reduce deforestation.

Around half of the funding falls under the Treasury Department, whose budget is under the purview of another House committee.

UN-led talks in December in Cancun, Mexico, agreed to set up a Green Climate Fund to help the poorest countries combat , with wealthy nations contributing $100 billion each year starting in 2020.

The developed world has also promised some $30 billion between 2010 and 2012 in so-called "fast-track" assistance -- seen as a key part of sealing a future global deal on curbing carbon emissions.

Japan has pledged $15 billion, or about half, of the fast-track funding and European Union members have promised $10.3 billion (7.2 billion euros). The United States budgeted $1.7 billion in the 2010 fiscal year.

Explore further: Pacific leaders say climate will claim entire nations

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Who_Wants_to_Know
3.3 / 5 (16) Jul 21, 2011
Financial aid for "global warming" is an outrageous redistribution of funds from Americans (and other developed nations, but that is their choice). The US taxpayer, who is already in horrible financial situations, are to borrow almost $2 Billion dollars from China or our own children's future in order to 'help' other countries from something that has yet to even exist? Island nations are mentioned as an example, yet research shows that average Island land surface worldwide has increased, not decreased as the AGW warmists claim. At this point, nothing - especially including the science - supports this blatant redistribution of wealth. Kudo's to the House for passing this, and shame on anyone supporting it.
Shelgeyr
1.9 / 5 (9) Jul 21, 2011
Sometimes they're a bunch of dunderheads.

Sometimes they're the wind beneath my wings.

I'm soaring!
Skepticus_Rex
3.7 / 5 (15) Jul 21, 2011
Wow. SOPAC data does seem to show that while some islands have remained stable, others have grown, as well as revealing that these islands still will be here at 60-100 years at current sea level rise rates, even if potentially uninhabitable.

Their heights have not changed, so climatologists still consider them at risk for inundation but the land surface area definitely has increased. That seems odd to me in the face of the sea level data. Hopefully the sea level will not itself fall. If so there will be more severe erosion to worry about.

There is so much we still do not know so I can't see justifying funding for something like this just yet. We need more solid science before plunging headlong into something like this.
brianweymes
2.5 / 5 (15) Jul 22, 2011
Of course their heights haven't changed (although the sea level around Tuvalu might be rising about 1 mm/year currently), sea level rise is a very slow process and is just beginning! The last IPCC estimated sea level rise to be between 7.1 to 23.2 inches by 2100. This is already outdated and considered a very conservative estimate, with a more likely minimum of one meter and maximum of two meters. Such increases, even the smallest possible, are enough to endanger island nations either through contamination of ground water, higher storm surges, or partial/total submersion. This is accepted and uncontroversial.

For rich nations to refuse to help poor island nations deal with the effects of an ensuing existential catastrophe that they themselves caused is morally inexcusable. What's ironic here concerning the US is that a large swath of Florida, probably everything south of Miami at least, could be underwater by 2100 or earlier under the high scenario of 4-6 feet.
RobertKarlStonjek
2.1 / 5 (7) Jul 22, 2011
1925 Scopes monkey trial..

The book and the class was teaching 'social Darwinism', also known as Eugenics. One of the biggest arguments against the teaching was the then religious view that we are all born equal (according to the Bible) and therefore blacks, for instance, are not born inferior.

So, who were we rooting for in that trial...???
ddp
3.9 / 5 (11) Jul 22, 2011
So we are going to borrow more money from China to give to small countries that MAY be affected by climate change, climate changed continuing in a large part due to industries and power plants in China.

Why don't the Chinese just give the money to the small countries? Why do we have to act as the middle man and pay interest on the loans for the priviledge?
LKD
4 / 5 (4) Jul 22, 2011
China, who has cities so polluted that you have to wear a gas mask gifting money for environmental research? That's funny.
gopher65
4.4 / 5 (5) Jul 22, 2011
1925 Scopes monkey trial..

The book and the class was teaching 'social Darwinism', also known as Eugenics.

... ummm... I don't know where you heard that, but that's simply not true. State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes was about a teacher violating a law (The Butler Act) that stated specifically that schools had to teach the Christian Bible's version of creation. This effectively banned evolution from schools -- which was part of the intent, as well as state-sponsoring Christianity (an out and out constitutional violation).

The teacher in question was teaching the validity of evolution in general, not Social Darwinism.

The trial's prosecution (led by a democrat I might add:P) made such enticing arguments as "well, what about Adam and Eve's place in evolution?" and "but what about Adam's rib?" and non-sequiturs such as "how many people lived in ancient Egypt?"

The whole thing was a farce, and eventually dismissed on a technicality.
ccr5Delta32
3 / 5 (6) Jul 22, 2011
On a party line vote ,Seems odd on an environmental issue .In the reality world, opinions on extra political issues should vary in a more randomly across the political spectrum.
USA has historically been by far the greatest emitter of GHG's and it still is by proxy .So the question is .If the house reps think/believe the A in AGW is reasonable then the USA has a responsibility to save the world (Again) for real not just Hollywood or at least share the load with other wealthy/polluting nations .If they don't ? ..... Talk to a climatologist or/and a psychologist in no particular order
GSwift7
2.4 / 5 (8) Jul 22, 2011
Such increases, even the smallest possible, are enough to endanger island nations either through contamination of ground water, higher storm surges, or partial/total submersion. This is accepted and uncontroversial.


That is correct, but entirely irrelevant. As you said, sea level change happens very slowly. There are several other causes that result in the same harmful effects as sea level, but happen at much faster rates.

The biggest problem is subsidence. Both natural and man-made subsidence are a real problem. Subsidence rates as high as 5 cm per year are common just from ground water use. One 2011 earthquake in Japan lowered the area by up to 1.2 meters in just a few minutes (The West Pacific region is a geological subisdence zone). Cities built on river deltas, such as New Orleans, also naturally subside because that's what deltas do. Parts of New Orleans are 5 meters below sea level. They were above sea level when the city was founded in 1718. That's 1.7cm/y
GSwift7
2.5 / 5 (8) Jul 22, 2011
The worst kind of subsidence for people is from ground water use, because it will happen fastest where there are the most people and the most agriculture. Ground water use also leads to rapid sea water intrusion, since sea water seeps in when you drain out the fresh water.

Furthermore, coastal cities and island comunities falling below sea level is nothing new. It has been happening since pre-history. There are many human settlements and cities which now lie deep underwater. The people don't die, they just move. Either that, or they build levees like New Orleans, or they build the city higher like Venice.

One big unanswered question is whether the total volume of global ocean basins is getting larger or smaller. The 2010 Chile earthquake move parts of that coast 3 meters west and other parts three meters straight up. What does that do to the volume of the ocean, and therefore sea level? We currently have no way to measure changes in the shape of the basins, so nobody knows.
Skepticus_Rex
3.3 / 5 (7) Jul 22, 2011
What I find oddest is that there are areas where sea levels either are staying relatively static or are falling rather than rising.

I think there may be an unmeasured geological component to at least some of it. I mean, look at the sea levels and sea level rises in the Mediterranean and particularly around Egypt.

There is ocean and inundated marshland where once there were flourishing cities. I've seen the archaeological digs that prove this. This inundation occurred over a thousand years ago--long before we started using mass quantities of fossil fuels.
RobertKarlStonjek
2.3 / 5 (9) Jul 22, 2011
gopher, The book was 'Civic Biology' (1914) [Page image here: http://law2.umkc....t196.htm ]
"The Races of Man. - At the present time there exists upon the Earth five races or varieties of man, each very different from the other in instincts, social customs, and, to an extent, in structure. These are the Ethiopian or Negro type, originating in Africa; the Malay or Brown race, from islands in the Pacific; the American Indian; the Mongolian or yellow race, including the natives of China, Japan, and the Eskimos; and finally, the highest type of all, the Caucasians, represented by the civilised white inhabitants of Europe and America."

An apraisal of the book can be found here:
http://en.wikiped..._Biology

And the Author, George William Hunter, who openly supported the Eugenics movement, can be found here:
http://en.wikiped...m_Hunter
"If such people were lower animals, we would probably kill them off..."

Snap!!!
FrankHerbert
1 / 5 (55) Jul 22, 2011
What are you going on about Bob? Evolution is wrong because some people who believed in eugenics used it as a justification? Lordy lordy lordy, where to begin?

Christians were pretty comfortable with eugenics by and large. Of course your blinders prevent you from seeing this.

http://findarticl...9119561/

The book and the class was teaching 'social Darwinism', also known as Eugenics. One of the biggest arguments against the teaching was the then religious view that we are all born equal (according to the Bible) and therefore blacks, for instance, are not born inferior.


The Bible was a frequent source in essays supporting slavery leading up to and during the American Civil War.

I guess we're technically born equal but many christians took that equality from many people just seconds after their birth. A technicality I guess.

This is pretty similar to the teavangelical "right to life", Utterly null and void once you are actually born.
XQZME
1.8 / 5 (5) Jul 23, 2011
Gopher65:
Wrong. The Constitution says that, Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion. States could, can and did. Congregationalism was once the established religion of Connecticut.
RobertKarlStonjek
2 / 5 (8) Jul 23, 2011
Frank,
social Darwinism and eugenics is wrong and no longer part of Evolution Theory though some parts of it have lingered in the form of the work of Charles Murray, J.Phillip Rushton and others eg 'The Bell Curve'.

The important thing to do is to leave the Scopes trial well alone as we (the modern Evolutionists) were on the wrong side in the test case of the legislation that was also wrong. But two wrongs still don't add up to a right.

It's just silly to give one's opposition ammunition with which to shoot you, and the Scopes trial is an own goal no matter how you look at it. The book that was used would be banned if it were to be presented for consideration by any school's board as an evolution text book anywhere in the western world, and religion need not have anything to do with it.

Thus my cautionary tale ~ leave Scopes alone: it's poison !! :)
GSwift7
1.6 / 5 (7) Jul 23, 2011
What I find oddest is that there are areas where sea levels either are staying relatively static or are falling rather than rising.

I think there may be an unmeasured geological component to at least some of it. I mean, look at the sea levels and sea level rises in the Mediterranean and particularly around Egypt


Gravity plays a big part in what you are talking about, and so do currents and trade winds. You mentioned a good case in point, in the Med Sea. The effects of sea level rise are not expected to be the same even on small scales. Venice isn't expected to have much trouble, but the African side of the Med is.

It's a complicated issue. Land mass pulls water towards it because of gravity (rock is more dense than water). However, the Earth is like a balloon filled with water. Land masses push down on the surface, which causes other places to bulge out. North America is still rebounding from the presure of the ice sheets that were once here. Sea level is VERY complicat
GSwift7
2.2 / 5 (10) Jul 23, 2011
Anybody who says that I need to send my tax money to Indonesia, who isn't already mailing a check from their own bank account, needs to shut up.

I sent money to the releif funds for the australia fire, australia flood (i know some ausies), and the joplin and huntsville tornado victims because i know people in both of those places too. I have no desire to help people on some island half way around the world. They wouldn't help me, and I wouldn't ask them to. Let China help them.

Keep our money here, and let the UN go ask somebody else for money. They need to reap what they have sown. It's not my fault that they have mismanaged so much of what we have given them in the past, and then refuse audits, and let obviously guilty parties go away with the money. The UN is an easy problem to solve, just stop paying them. Done.
GSwift7
1.9 / 5 (9) Jul 23, 2011
the original intent (unofficial) of the UN was that we could bribe small countries around the world to be on our side. Get them to make deals with us for militar bases, resource access, political support, etc. We funneled mountains of money into the project. Now, we're still sending the money, but our competition is running the show and deciding who to bribe. That means that they're using our bribe moeny to get people onto their side. I say we're stupid to keep that tap turned on.

We don't need the UN to help people for us. We're helping in Dijibouti, Africa right now. My Uncle, former colonel, spends several months a year there. We're helping those people nice and quietly, without the UN nonsense. We control where the money goes and we're doing a great job. Somalia was a UN project, and look how that turned out.
Howhot
1 / 5 (2) Jul 25, 2011
To me, reading G7's excessively wordy crap, clearly he is on the back side of the Bell curve. What nonsense.
Howhot
3 / 5 (2) Jul 25, 2011
The panel is a bunch of loosers anyway (at least the republicans are).
Who_Wants_to_Know
5 / 5 (1) Aug 23, 2011
@ RobertKarlStonjek, I believe you are misrepresenting things here a bit and conflating some ideas that are actually separate issues. Scopes wasn't about the textbook, which was required throughout the state of TN. It was limited to the issue of teaching evolution, and Scopes was chosen to represent the evolution side because the Tn textbook included it.

The concept of 'Social Darwinism' existed long before Darwin's work, and Darwin soundly opposed it. It's not tied to eugenics either - nor was euginics tied to evolution, although some/many at the time chose to use the idea of evolution to support both Soc.Dar. & eugenics.

Those two issues, while they were in the textbook, weren't a part of the Scopes trial, which was only about whether it was legal to teach evolution in public schools or not.
Who_Wants_to_Know
5 / 5 (1) Aug 23, 2011
@ RobertKarlStonjek - oh, and add the Bell Curve to the list of things you are misrepresenting here. If you had actually read the Bell Curve, it had nothing to do with eugenics, racism, or social darwinism. The book presented the results of statistical analysis of reams of existing research showing relationship of IQ to various demographics in the USA, including thigs like poverty, crime, socioeconomic status, race, fertility, education levels, and so on. It was meticulously researched, documented, and referenced. It had nothing to do with either social darwinism or eugenics.