Given the urgent, I’d argue 12-alarm emergency, need to deal with the global warming crisis, I’m very happy to see this.
Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) introduced a 923-page bill to overhaul foreign aid…[which] would require online reporting of all foreign assistance data and more transparency on arms sales and military training, while making sustainability of the “global environment” a key aim of U.S. aid efforts.
The bill doesn’t spell out specific amounts or regional programs, but rather creates new requirements and priorities for the disbursement of foreign aid. These include a section on “Sustaining the Global Environment,” which permits activities aimed at addressing climate change, and another on “Advancing Peace” that calls for the creation of a Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations.
The bill, cosponsored by Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11th, VA) can be viewed here. Among other things, it contains the following elements and requirements:
*Requires “an assessment of the country’s vulnerability
to climate change, and the special challenges such change is likely to pose.”
*Urges the promotion of “climate-resistant and environmentally sustainable agricultural development”
*Notes that “[c]lean, efficient and renewable energy sources are vital to sustain economic growth and protect human health.”
*Calls repeatedly for action to mitigate climate change.
*Recommends “debt-for-nature” exchanges to “to protect and sustainably manage tropical forests, coral reefs, and other natural ecosystems.”
*With regard to tropical forests, notes that they play “a critical role as carbon sinks in reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, thus moderating potential global climate change.”
All in all, this is exactly the type of approach we should be taking as a country, using every bit of leverage we have to make climate and environmental sustainability central to our foreign policy. Of course, we also need to make those things central to our domestic policy as well, but that’s a subject for another diary. Meanwhile, great work by Representatives Berman and Connolly on this bill. Of course, House Teapublicans won’t let it pass — all the more reason to make sure we take back the House in 2014.