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Biden throws taxpayer dollars down the climate change rathole

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 12/30/2022 James Rogan
FILE - President Joe Biden signs into law S. 2938, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act gun safety bill, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, June 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File) © Provided by Washington Examiner FILE - President Joe Biden signs into law S. 2938, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act gun safety bill, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, June 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

President Joe Biden pledged to the United Nations in 2021 that the U.S. would give $11.4 billion annually to international climate change funds. Biden repeated that pledge at the recent COP27 climate conference.

Biden’s climate change pledges are hot air, and he knows it.

Under the Constitution, Biden does not have the authority to commit U.S. funds to overseas development projects. In fact, under the Constitution, only Congress can commit such funds and only Congress has the authority to make binding international agreements. The president executes laws and introduces bills in pursuit of Congressional assent, the president does not make laws. Biden thus undermines the credibility of representative democracy by making pledges which have no legal basis and have no chance of being realized. This contributes to America’s polarization and distrust of government and politics more generally.

But there's another point of note here. Namely, that giving climate change assistance to many emerging market countries is like throwing money down the rat hole. I have worked as a foreign service officer in both Asia and Africa, and my work focused on development assistance. I know from first-hand experience that development assistance is hard. One of the most difficult aspects is preventing corruption. The U.S., through the Agency for International Development, USAID, tries to prevent corruption by fully staffing its overseas USAID missions with development experts. Only through feet on the ground can corruption be reduced and often prevented.

But Biden’s climate change pledges would send taxpayer’s dollars to the United Nations and other international organizations where oversight is minimal. Academics at Harvard University acknowledge that corruption in development projects is endemic when the funds are distributed by multi-lateral organizations such as the United Nations or World Bank. In fact, Harvard scholars posit that more international assistance leads to more corruption.

Let’s just take two examples of endemic corruption in Africa: Ghana and Zambia.

Ghana, for the 17th time since the country achieved independence in 1957, is restructuring its international debt obligations. Even the United Nations acknowledges the pervasive nature of public corruption in Ghana. But Ghana is rich in natural resources. The U.S. government says that "Ghana is one of the world’s largest exporters of cocoa. The country is also blessed with natural resources: timber, gold, diamonds, bauxite, manganese, and oil."

Yet, Ghana remains heavily dependent on international finance. Again, it has restructured its international debt 17 times since 1957. With good government and appropriate economic policies, it should be a middle-income country able to finance internally development projects and climate change initiatives. Sadly, endemic corruption paralyzes Ghana’s economic development, and giving Ghana climate change money through the United Nations would be the equivalent of burning United States taxpayer-financed money.

It is no different in Zambia. Zambia, too, is restructuring its international debt. Corruption is pervasive in Zambia. From the procurement of medical supplies to transportation infrastructure projects, corruption bleeds money from Zambia’s public finances. Yet, Biden, without Constitutional authority and without any apparent awareness of the depth of corruption in many emerging market countries, pledges to give climate change monies to countries that would waste and steal that U.S. taxpayer money.

The nation should be grateful that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives will reduce such "burning" of taxpayer dollars.


James Rogan is a former U.S. foreign service officer who later worked in finance and law for 30 years. He writes a daily note on finance and the economy, politics, sociology, and criminal justice.


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Tags: Opinion, Beltway Confidential, Blog Contributors, Opinion, Climate Change, Joe Biden

Original Author: James Rogan

Original Location: Biden throws taxpayer dollars down the climate change rathole


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