“America First” budget would axe 20% of the UN’s climate body’s funding and $2bn to help developing countries deal with global warming

The US people need a government that puts “the needs of its own people first,” US president Donald Trump said in his budget foreword. (Pic: Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

In a budget blueprint released on Thursday morning, US president Donald Trump proposed sweeping cuts to US financial support for the global fight against climate change.

The title page called it the “America First” budget. “Our aim is to meet the simple, but crucial demand of our citizens – a Government that puts the needs of its own people first,” said Trump in a foreword addressed to the US Congress.

The budget, which covers the 2018 financial year, is likely to be substantially amended as it goes through Congress.

The State Department section of the budget proposal said the Global Climate Change Initiative (GCCI) would be eliminated. According to its 2016 budget request the GCCI, which was set up by president Barack Obama, directs money to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the diplomatic and scientific branches of the UN’s climate process.

Through the GCCI, the State Department is a major funder of the UNFCCC, providing €6 million (US$6.44m) each year – roughly 20% of its operating budget.

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Nick Nuttall, spokesperson for the UNFCCC, said: “We understand that the new US administration today published its first budget proposal. We also understand that approval of such a budget can be a long and complex process and we will follow it with interest.”

The UNFCCC has been deeply unpopular among conservative Republicans, both for its core mission and for its acceptance of the state of Palestine as a full member. The GOP platform for the 2016 election held that…