Guest post by David Middleton
The Promise Keeper keeps delivering…
President Donald Trump’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2018 can be read as a political document, a statement of his administration’s policy priorities. Many of these proposed cuts won’t get passed by Congress, but it’s a look at what Trump values.
And what’s clear is that Trump wants the US government to pull back sharply from any effort to stop global warming, adapt to its impacts — or even study it further. Under the proposal, a wide variety of Obama-era climate programs across multiple agencies would be scaled back or slashed entirely.
1) Many of the EPA’s climate programs would be terminated. Trump is proposing a sweeping 31 percent cut to the EPA’s budget — from $8.2 billion down to $5.7 billion — shrinking funding to the lowest levels in 40 years. That includes zeroing out funding for many of the agency’s climate programs. Currently, the EPA is the main US entity working to monitor and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
2) The Department of Energy’s R&D programs would be reoriented and scaled back.Trump is proposing a 5.6 percent cut to the Department of Energy. And, to do that, he would impose a steep 17.9 percent cut — roughly $2 billion — from core energy/science programs intended to accelerate the transition to new (and cleaner) energy technologies.
3) State Department funding for climate change is axed. As part of the Paris climate deal in 2015, the United States pledged not just to cut emissions, but also to offer $3 billion in aid to poorer countries to help them adapt to climate change and build clean energy. So far, the Obama administration has chipped in $1 billion. This was seen as crucial for bringing these countries into the deal.
4) NASA’s Earth-monitoring programs are cut. One reason we know so much about climate change is that NASA has deployed a fleet of Earth-observing satellites since 1999. They collect data on everything from temperature and precipitation to underground aquifers and ocean currents to wildfires, soil moisture, and storms.
But NASA’s Earth Science Division has come under attack from conservatives who don’t appreciate the agency’s forays into climate science and think NASA should focus on space exploration instead.
5) A key NOAA program to help coastal communities adapt to climate change would be gone. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Sea Grant program provides grants for research efforts intended to help coastal communities deal with a wide variety of challenges. Lately, that has included climate change.
Including Sea Grant, Trump’s budget would eliminate $250 million in NOAA programs for coastal management, calling it “a lower priority than core functions maintained in the Budget such as surveys, charting, and fisheries management.” It’s unclear if Congress would agree to this: The Sea Grant program was established back in 1966 “to foster economic competitiveness” and has rarely been controversial in the past.
If that’s not good enough…
Pruitt, Chao reverse ‘costly’ auto rules
By JOHN SICILIANO • 3/15/17
The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation took formal action Wednesday to reverse an Obama-era decision to move forward with some of the strictest regulations for cutting emissions and improving fuel efficiency in cars and light trucks.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao made the decision in a joint declaration just moments before President Trump was supposed to discuss the rollback at an event in Michigan.
“These standards are costly for automakers and the American people,” Pruitt said in a statement. “We will work with our partners at [the Department of Transportation] to take a fresh look to determine if this approach is realistic. This thorough review will help ensure that this national program is good for consumers and good for the environment.”
On a side note, did anyone else notice the Alfa Romeo Giulia advertisement on the Vox page? I just love irony. An article whining about Trump’s desire to zero-out climate change spending is accompanied by ad ad for a 280 hp, 149 mph car. The turbocharged 16-valve inline-4 cylinder engine can do 0-60 in 5 seconds. Not bad for a 4 cylinder engine. the Giula gets 22/32 mpg (city/highway)… A bit less than the more than 50 mpg standard that was just erased.