UnScientific Americans: Congress Aims to Cut Climate Science
June 3, 2016
These guys are not joking. You wonder how great civilizations turn their back on enlightenment? Here’s how.
Congress is considering spending bills that would significantly cut funding for key climate change research by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2017.
Among the losers: the oldest carbon dioxide observatories on the planet, the ability to track fossil fuel emissions in the United States and a program to study ocean acidification.
“We are asking for a small amount of money to do all the right things,” said James Butler, director of global monitoring at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL).
The spending bill passed by the House Appropriations Committee last week allocates $128 million for NOAA’s climate research, a 20 percent cut from the previous year. The bill allocates $1.7 billion for NASA’s earth science division, a 12 percent cut from 2016.
Republican appropriators termed climate and ocean services research “lower-priority,” which earned them a rebuke from Democrats.
“It’s important that we provide appropriate support across all the fields and not just the few mission directorates or a few of the sciences,” Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) said. “So, to this end, I’m disappointed that the earth science funding was so dramatically cut.”
The Senate Appropriations Committee passed its comparatively less brutal spending bill in April. Senate appropriators chose to maintain funding at 2016 levels for both agencies. The differences between the House and Senate appropriators will have to be resolved during conference negotiations.