The Green Climate Fund and Us
Recently, I spearheaded a letter to House Appropriations Committee leaders signed by 110 Members of the House in which we expressed our opposition to President Obama’s unilateral pledge of U.S. taxpayer funds for use in the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund. This fund, launched in 2009 with the goal of raising $100 billion a year in financing, is a fund intended to help developing nations catch up with the U.S. in addressing climate change.
Despite serious domestic budget constraints, as well as Congress never having authorized money for the Green Climate Fund, President Obama unilaterally – on his own, without it having been authorized by those of us in Congress – pledged $3 billion in U.S. taxpayer funding for it.
This is significant, because when President Obama is promising billions of dollars for other nations, those nations ought to be aware that money may not actually be there.
Also troubling, as we noted in our letter, is that, “The United Nations’ top climate change official, Christina Figueres, has described the current goal of $100 billion as ‘peanuts’ and envisions trillions of dollars in spending over the next 15 years.” If the U.N. expects to spend trillions, you can be sure that they will expect the U.S. to pony up a significant portion of those trillions. And by “U.S.,” they mean you and me. In other words: Us.
This week, my colleagues and I in the House will be considering the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act (H.R. 8) as well as two resolutions disapproving of President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency rules for new and existing power plants.
Conversely, President Obama and other world leaders arrived in Paris in recent days for the 2015 U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, at which it is expected the Green Climate Fund will be discussed.
We can debate whether or not we ought to be spending American taxpayer dollars to help our economic competitors, putting our nation further in debt in the process. But the Administration certainly shouldn’t do so without first receiving the approval of Congress and, by extension, the people of the U.S.
Each year around this time, my office generally sees an increase in the number of Ninth District residents contacting us for assistance with requesting or renewing a passport, requesting expedited processing of those documents, and for help with various visa issues.
Those who may have upcoming international travel may wish to verify their passport’s expiration dates early and consider promptly proceeding with renewal if necessary. As a reminder, the State Department recommends that international travelers ensure their unexpired passport has at least six months of validity beyond dates of planned travel in order to avoid any unintended disruptions.
You may call or visit any of my offices for assistance, and can also meet with members of my team in person during our staff traveling office hours. Our schedule for office hours in your locality can be found on my website, www.morgangriffith.house.gov.
Congressional App Challenge
It’s time again for the Congressional App Challenge, an opportunity for high school students to display their talents, engage their creativity, and encourage their participation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education fields. The App Challenge will highlight the value of computer science and STEM education, help to shine a light on the growing importance of these skills, and – hopefully – encourage student engagement in these fields.
As part of this challenge, a participating high school student or a group of up to four students may create and submit their own software application (referred to as an “app”) for mobile, tablet, or computer devices on a platform of their choice. Students entering the competition must submit their app's source code online by midnight on January 15, 2016 EST, as well as provide a video demo explaining their app and what they learned through this competition process.
Interested teachers, parents, or students may contact one of my offices for additional information and resources.
Reminder – Medicare Open Enrollment
As part of my November 16 column, I noted the Medicare open enrollment period, which runs through Monday, December 7. During this time, seniors can add, drop, or switch their coverage options. For more information, visit www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.