Bipartisan Merkley-Kirk Climate Amendment Passes Senate Committee

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) announced today that the Senate Appropriations Committee passed an amendment to the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill that would fund the Green Climate Fund, an essential part of the international climate agreement reached in Paris last fall. The amendment was cosponsored by Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Susan Collins (R-ME), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).

The Green Climate Fund is an international fund set up to help nations worldwide – particularly developing nations – adapt to climate change and transition to clean energy sources. This fund is an essential component of the framework that the international community developed in order to work together to take on climate change. 

A provision of today’s bill would have prevented the United States from contributing to the Green Climate Fund. Merkley and Kirk’s amendment struck that provision, dedicated $500 million toward the Green Climate Fund, and added language supporting the United States’ commitment to contribute $3 billion to the Fund over several years.

“We are already seeing the devastating effects of climate change throughout Oregon, the nation and the world and tackling climate change requires global cooperation,” said Merkley. “We can’t wait for the next generation to find a solution to climate change. It is our moral obligation to work with our international partners to reduce greenhouse gases and cut carbon pollution. The Green Climate Fund is crucial to this effort.”

“Climate change is real and it will continue to take a serious toll on economies across the globe,” said Kirk. “The Green Climate Fund finances clean energy projects across the developing world and coordinates global consensus on climate change.‎”

“New Mexico and the Southwest are in the bull’s-eye when it comes to the impacts of climate change — from increasingly severe wildfires to drought and rising temperatures,” Udall said. “But the causes and effects of global warming are worldwide. This is a global crisis that requires global action, and the urgency cannot be more real. Today, the Appropriations Committee did the right thing by reinforcing the United States’ commitment to working with our international partners through the Green Climate Fund — reducing emissions abroad is necessary to protect all of us here at home.”

“Senator Merkley deserves great credit for the successful amendment to strike a prohibition on funding for the Green Climate Fund that was included by the Senate Republican leadership,” said Senator Leahy.  “Climate change already is causing immense hardships for some of the world’s poorest countries.  It threatens the livelihoods of huge numbers of people and the stability of whole regions.  No country, including ours, is immune.  Addressing this challenge requires a global effort, and the Green Climate Fund is a catalyst to help make that possible.  Its success depends on the support of the United States and other major carbon producers.”

The bill was voted out of the Appropriations Committee on a bipartisan vote. The next steps would be for the bill to be sent to the Senate floor for a full Senate vote, and eventually to be merged with a counterpart bill from the U.S. House of Representatives in order to be passed by both houses and signed into law.