United Nations Foundation is quietly fueling climate policy, funding staff in Dem states

EXCLUSIVE: The United Nations Foundation, a nonprofit founded in the 1990s to support global U.N. initiatives, is quietly fueling climate change policies in top Democratic state government offices nationwide, Fox News Digital has learned.

The Washington, D.C.-based organization — which was “created to work closely with the United Nations” — houses the U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition of Democrat-led states launched to coordinate environmental policy after former President Donald Trump withdrew from the U.N. Paris climate accords. As part of the initiative, the United Nations Foundation has wired millions of dollars to state governors and agencies, in many cases even funding state officials’ salaries.

According to United Nations Foundation tax filings reviewed by Fox News Digital, the group wired a staggering $5.4 million to 12 state governments between 2020 and 2022, the most recent year with data available, with grants often being vaguely earmarked for “UN strengthening.” Further, information requests shared with Fox News Digital indicate another state, Michigan, received $451,000 from the group circuitously routed through the University of Michigan.

“What we see is that wealthy donors are providing layers of ‘staff’ to do what is supposedly government work, led by a U.N. ‘strategic partner’ no less boasting that these millions to staff government offices in the United States is for ‘UN Strengthening,’” D.C. lawyer Chris Horner, who filed the information requests on behalf of watchdog groups Government Accountability & Oversight (GAO) and Power The Future, told Fox News Digital.

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The COP28 logo is photographed in November at the outset of the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The United Nations Foundation leverages philanthropic contributions to support U.N. aims including those pertaining to fighting global warming. (Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“They are staffing governors’ offices, to set the policies, and regulatory agencies — including at least one cabinet official — to ensure that official reports and rules are climate-industry produced,” Horner continued. “Meanwhile, the risk of blackouts across the U.S. has soared as this U.N. ‘energy transition’ agenda is implemented, by people they have placed on the inside.”

Overall, United Nations Foundation filings show that, during the time frame with data available, North Carolina has been the largest beneficiary of the funding scheme, receiving nearly $1.2 million in U.S. Climate Alliance grants sent to the state’s Office of the Governor, Department of Commerce and Department of Transportation.

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In the same time frame, the nonprofit sent $853,000 to Maine’s Office of the Governor, Energy Office and Department of Agriculture. And New Mexico’s government received another $725,193, sent to its Environment Department and Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department.

“It is extremely concerning that global government activists may be secretly influencing public policy in New Mexico,” New Mexico state Senate Republican Leader Greg Baca told Fox News Digital. “If these grants are funding employees within our state agencies, the people of New Mexico deserve to know about it. We call on the Governor to disclose the details of what these funds are being used for and why New Mexico was selected as a beneficiary.”

Roy Cooper

Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper speaks at a public rally on May 13, 2023, in Raleigh, North Carlina. Since taking office, Cooper has taken action to forcibly reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030 and set a goal of at least 1.25 million registered zero emission vehicles in the state by 2030. (AP Photo/Hannah Schoenbaum)

A spokesperson for North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, the state’s highest-ranking Republican, added that the United Nations Foundation and U.S. Climate Alliance funding structure raises concerns about how key climate policies are being crafted.

“The United Nations Foundation funneling $1.19 million into North Carolina for influencing the policy of our state raises serious concerns about the potential of unaccountable bureaucrats bypassing the legislature’s budgeting power to push political agendas,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “Transparency is crucial – we need clear answers on how the funds are utilized.”

“Currently, there’s unease that the money might be funding salaries for state officials involved in developing climate policies,” the statement continued. “It’s essential to ensure that the government officials tasked with crafting policies to benefit North Carolinians are accountable to the taxpayers, not beholden to global activist organizations promoting agendas.”

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The information requests shared with Fox News Digital reveal additional details about the purpose of the United Nation Foundation’s “U.N. strengthening” grants to states. 

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer have a conversation in New York City on Sept. 19, 2023. Both Pritzker and Whitmer have pursued aggressive green energy goals and are members of the U.S. Climate Alliance. (John Nacion/WireImage via Getty Images)

Documents obtained by GAO show that the Michigan state government signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of Michigan in 2021 to use a U.S. Climate Alliance grant for $451,000 to hire two full-time climate policy staff through 2025. That same year, the United Nations Foundation reported sending that same amount to the Regents of the University of Michigan.

According to the contract, the staff, whose salaries of more than $100,000 a year were funded by the U.S. Climate Alliance via the United Nations Foundation, work at the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s Office of Climate and Energy (OCE), which was established by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2019 to “advance climate action.”

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Among their responsibilities under the grant, the staff are tasked with helping develop the Michigan Healthy Climate Plan. That plan lays out a broad plan for the state under Whitmer’s leadership to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and outlines other environmental policies including expanding electric vehicle charging infrastructure, decarbonizing the residential sector and boosting conservation.

“These two [Climate Leadership Grant Program] positions are essential for supporting OCE’s work as it pursues the state’s decarbonization goals,” the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy wrote in an application to extend funding submitted with the U.S. Climate Alliance in December and obtained via information request. 

“I’m thrilled to let you know that the application has been approved for the full grant amount,” Katie Thomas, a senior U.S. Climate Alliance official, wrote to Michigan officials in an email on Dec. 20. “It’s clear that these two positions are critical to advancing all the great climate work happening in Ml and we are proud to support them.”

Michelle Lujan Grisham speaks

Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham speaks on Aug. 9, 2023, in Belen, New Mexico. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

And the documents obtained by Power The Future, show a similar arrangement was green-lit in New Mexico. 

In September, the New Mexico Department of Energy, Minerals and Resources, and the United Nations Foundation signed a U.S. Climate Alliance grant agreement worth $307,300. According to the contract, the funding supports a new senior climate policy adviser who will work directly with Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham through January 2026.

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The contract includes a provision stating that the United Nations Foundation “may monitor and conduct formal evaluations of operations under this Agreement, which may include a visit from UNF personnel or other representatives, including representatives from the U.S. Climate Alliance, to observe Grantee’s projects.”

“If your government is up for sale, then you’re going to have a pretty corrupt group of bidders,” Daniel Turner, the executive director of Power The Future, told Fox News Digital in an interview. “The whole purpose of the government is to be above such deviousness. And yet these governors have sold their power to a global agenda, and they should be held accountable by their constituents.”

“It’s really just shocking and it’s traitorous,” Turner added. “To think governors would just sell out to third party groups — it’s just terrible behavior.”

Member states of the U.S. Climate Alliance have pursued policies curbing reliance on fossil fuels while promoting green energy technology. (Getty Images)

In addition to Michigan, New Mexico, Maine and North Carolina, state offices in Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin have received funding from the U.S. Climate Alliance via the United Nations Foundation. Nevada withdrew from the U.S. Climate Alliance shortly after Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo succeeded former Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, last year.

On its website, the U.S. Climate Alliance boasts that member states have committed to uniform net-zero goals, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions at least 26-28% by 2025 and 50-52% by 2030, while promoting equity and “environmental justice.”

In December, the alliance’s co-chairs, Govs. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., and Janet Mills, D-Maine, issued an annual report highlighting the coordinated actions member states had taken throughout 2023. The report pointed to the states’ aggressive electric vehicle mandates, shutdown of fossil fuel infrastructure and bans on natural gas hookups for new construction.

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U.S. Climate Alliance spokesperson Evan Westrup said the initiative’s funding — through both the Climate Leadership Grant Program, which “bolsters state-level staff capacity” for climate policy roles, and Technical Assistance Fund, which provides “policy support” for member states — is “critical” where staff capacity constraints persist. He added that grants are managed by individual states, not the U.S. Climate Alliance or United Nations Foundation.

“At a time when unprecedented heat, fires, and storms continue to threaten communities across America, it’s clear our leaders — both Democrats and Republicans — need every available resource at the ready to confront the climate crisis,” Westrup told Fox News Digital. “Our health, economy, and future depend on it.”

The Barren Ridge solar panel array is pictured near Mojave, California. (George Rose/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, the United Nations Foundation’s tax filings reveal that it has itself received tens of millions of dollars from major left-wing pass-through organizations.

For example, in recent years, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has contributed more than $55 million, the Bezos Earth Fund has contributed nearly $6 million, and the Tides Foundation contributed nearly $4 million. Corporations such as Johnson & Johnson and Facebook, and government entities from the U.K., Canada, Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands have contributed tens of millions of dollars more.

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But it appears the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Sequoia Climate Fund, two massive nonprofits dedicated to writing grants to fuel progressive causes in the U.S., have spearheaded the U.S. Climate Alliance initiative.

“The Hewlett Foundation is proud of our work to address climate change,” a Hewlett Foundation spokesperon said. “All of our grants and their purpose, including to the U.S. Climate Alliance, are public and listed on our website.”

A spokesperson for Maine Gov. Mills declined to comment. Governors’ offices in Michigan, North Carolina and New Mexico didn’t respond to requests for comment.

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