Opinion: If The US Is Serious About Climate Change, USAID Should Be Too
Since coming to power, U.S. President Joe Biden has identified climate change as one of the core priorities for his administration. The president announced during the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP 26, in Glasgow that the U.S. aims to cut carbon pollution in half by 2030 and through his executive order from late last year that federal operations will reach net-zero by 2050. Yet one international sector remains well behind on such climate transparency and commitment — that of global development.
The recently released report from Working Group II’s contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has made it clear that development agencies around the world have a “rapidly narrowing window of opportunity to enable climate resilient development.”
While the U.S. Agency for International Development has committed to operational carbon neutrality, and this is a commendable step, operational neutrality — think USAID’s travel and buildings’ carbon footprint — is a small part of its activities and budget. USAID, by failing to include a commitment to carbon neutrality in its programming, has missed an opportunity to seize the moment and mirror the Biden administration’s commitment to addressing the climate crisis.
Photo courtesy of Marco Verch.