Mining operations during a tour of Peabody Energy's North Antelope Rochelle coal mine near Gillette. Photo: Kristina Barker / REUTERS

By Jennifer A. Dlouhy
13 July 2017

(Bloomberg) –  The U.S. will seek to use a United Nations fund designed to aid nations hard hit by climate change to promote the construction of coal-fired power plants around the world.

The U.S. already donated $1 billion to the so-called Green Climate Fund, and it can now use its seat on that board to advance American-energy interests globally, a White House official said.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe climate negotiations at the just-concluded summit of Group of 20 leaders in Germany. A U.S. commitment to "work closely with other countries to help them access and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently" was highlighted in a statement issued by the group last week.

Trump previously announced the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris climate accord in which nearly 200 nations agreed to cut carbon dioxide emissions. At the same time, Trump insisted he would be open to a new deal that protects American interests. He also is keeping the U.S. in a 15-year-old United Nations convention on climate change that underpins the 2015 Paris pact.

Financial support for the Green Climate Fund was seen as a critical tool to win broad support for the global carbon-cutting pact. Former President Barack Obama pledged $3 billion for the initiative, though he only provided a third of that before leaving the White House.

Trump has made clear the U.S. won’t be sending any more checks to the fund as long as he is president, but the U.S. gets to keep a seat on the managing board for a year or more based on that previous $1 billion contribution. The board, which includes a U.S. official with veto power, has so far approved more than three dozen projects -- including dams in Pakistan and barriers around an island in the South Pacific.

Board members previously refused to impose an explicit ban on funding projects that use fossil fuels, which scientists say are responsible for climate change. Coal is the fuel that releases the most carbon dioxide when burned to produce electricity. [more]

Trump Wants to Steer UN Climate Cash Toward Building Coal Plants

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