Good neighbors can be found on Missouri’s farms and ranches. Rural people are usually the first to help someone in need. A log chain can be found in about any farm truck to pull a stranger’s vehicle out of a muddy ditch, or a pair of jumper cables for a start, or just a warm cab offered on a frigid day.

When it comes to climate change, global elitists, including President Biden and our own U.S. climate envoy John Kerry, want American taxpayers to be especially generous. The Biden Administration has pledged to direct $11 billion annually to finance green energy projects around the world, and Kerry is busy lecturing about the evils of fossil fuels while he flies on his private jet.

Those on the receiving end of American generosity want it on their terms, not ours. Last November, during the Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP27), sponsored by the United Nations, delegates agreed that financial “loss and damage” restitution payments made from industrialized countries should be sent to developing countries. These countries want $1.3 trillion in annual funding by 2030 from industrialized countries to finance the energy transition to carbon-neutral green technologies.

And, apparently, that amount won’t be enough. A global transformation to a low-carbon economy is expected to require investments of at least $4 trillion dollars per year. Those at COP27 believe delivering such funding will require comprehensive transformation of the financial system, its structures and processes.

Let that sink in. We don’t need to go down the slippery slope proposed at COP27.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported in its Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks that U.S. greenhouse emissions in 2020 were 21 percent below 2005 levels and 10.6 percent below 2019 levels. U.S. agriculture consistently represents just 10 percent of total U.S. emissions when compared to other economic sectors. The agriculture sector also sequestered more carbon in 2020 compared to 2019.

We in agriculture are doing a lot of things right and can properly account for those efforts. While aiding poorer, developing countries is a noble goal, many of these countries lack the oversight or governance mechanisms to safeguard investments from U.S. taxpayers. Americans have a right to be skeptical of a plan calling for handouts of trillions of dollars with no guarantees that the money will go toward the intended purpose of improving the global environment.

As those involved in COP27 discuss climate change, our farmers have an important job – feeding nearly 10 billion people by 2050. America’s farmers have a proven track record, so let’s invest in improving agricultural innovation here at home. Our farmers, and the institutions that support them, know how to improve soil, water and air. We can help the climate as environmental stewards with investments in precision agriculture and other technologies. Time and again, we’ve seen voluntary, market-based programs work. Let’s perfect and tailor those programs for other countries, instead of making massive changes in a global financial scheme concocted by elites far removed from fields and farms.

Instead of traveling on his private jet to Egypt to pontificate in fancy climate meetings, perhaps Mr. Kerry would be better served spending time with Missouri farmers and ranchers, where he can see we are part of the solution to improving our environment. We’ll show him what being good neighbors is all about.