Despite Trump’s promise to end U.N. climate funding, a bipartisan group of Senators voted today to continue their payments to the United Nations climate change agency, pledging $10 million dollars.
The Senate Appropriations Committee voted 16 to 14 to approve the amendment by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) to “restore funding for the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change in the State Department appropriations bill.” All Democrats except Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) voted for the measure. Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) both defected to join the Democrats voting in favor of the measure.
While the United States had been funding the convention since joining in 1992, Trump and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney threatened to scrap our participation.
“As to climate change, I think the president was fairly straightforward. We’re not spending money on that anymore. We consider that to be a waste of your money to go out and do that,” Mulvaney said.
However, after the successful vote, Merkley said that the amendment “fits in with Secretary Tillerson’s desire that we both continue to monitor the changes in the world’s climate and that we keep a seat at the table.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said of the amendment, “This is important. You know, the world’s at risk.”
Perhaps the unprecedented presence of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and – soon – Jose are beginning to show Republicans that not only does climate change exist, but it is a dire threat to their livelihood. Trump may feel fine burying his head in the sand in deference to the fossil fuel industry, but Americans are feeling the effects of climate change everyday, and if their Senators are not going to act, they’ll be replaced with those who will.
Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.