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It’s been described as a “slap in the face,” “slaughter,” “a punitive … assault on science, the environment, and indeed the planet.”
Aside from being inappropriate and irresponsible, these remarks are how some in the policy world and media have depicted cuts to global warming spending in President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal.
People seem to have forgotten—or perhaps never noticed—just how much the government spends on direct climate programs. Trump’s budget proposal does in fact eliminate or cut a number of climate programs. But you don’t have to scratch too far beneath the surface to realize there are legitimate justifications for doing so. Even if the federal budget won’t be balanced on the back of eliminated climate programs, there are a number of basic problems with government climate spending.
1. Quite simply, there are a lot of global warming programs.
At least 18 federal agencies administer climate change activities, costing at least $77 billion between fiscal years 2008 and 2013, according to the Congressional Research Service.
2. Most of the money goes to green tech rather than science.
The Department of Energy is notorious for spending on research, development, demonstration, and commercialization of technologies like wind, solar, geothermal, electric vehicles, biofuels, coal carbon capture and sequestration, small nuclear, and batteries.
3. There’s a lot of wasteful spending.
As just one example of wasteful spending, Office of Budget and Management Director Mick Mulvaney highlighted the National Science Foundation’s grant for a global warming musical. (The nearly $700,000 grant was awarded in 2010.)
4. International climate initiatives are fatally flawed.
One would think that an international climate conference aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions would be the perfect opportunity to have a teleconference to show some good faith. But instead, government officials from around the world fly to lavish venues while telling you to buy hybrids and eat less meat.