On October 14th, 2011, Republicans on the U.S. House Science Committee sent budget cut recommendations to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.
These recommendations are curiously focused on eliminating most (or all) funding for climate change research and green technologies development at the EPA, the Department Of Energy, NASA, NOAA, the National Science Foundation, and other scientific agencies.
The full letter can be seen here. It was signed by:
- Rep. Ralph M. Hall (R-Texas) Chair
- Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin), Vice-Chair
- Rep. Paul Broun (R-Georgia), Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight
- Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Mississippi), Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics
- Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Alabama), Subcommittee on Research and Science Education
- Rep. Andy Harris (R-Maryland), Subcommittee on Energy and Environment
- Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas)
- Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Illinois)
- Rep. Todd Akin (R-Missouri)
- Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), and
- Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Illinois)
ClimateScienceWatch has identified some of these cuts.
They are astounding.
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERA): Currently funded at a level of $1.8 billion, EERA funds solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and other technologies. Proposed cut from current $1.8 billion to $1.2 billion.
In other words, mostly or completely eliminated.
Department Of Energy (DOE) Fossil Energy: “The vast majority of this [research] funding is directed toward advancing carbon capture and sequestration efforts. ...we recommend restoring DOE’s Fossil Energy program to its prior focus on fundamental R&D to advance oil and gas exploration and production technologies and enable near-term environmental improvements, such as increasing power plant efficiency and research on non-greenhouse gas related pollution abatement technology.”
Completely eliminated, and funds diverted to fossil fuels.
NASA: Cancellation of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)-2 environmental satellite. Reduce by 20% ($74 million) the “Other Missions and Data Analysis” account within the Earth System Missions account, including many instruments and missions related to climate change.
Satellite eliminated, other related budget items slashed.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): “We do not support any funding for NOAA’s proposed Climate Service. Despite the claim that this is a budget neutral proposal that would include assets consolidated from other line offices, we have serious concerns regarding the objectivity and utility of a new line office that will place greater strain on existing resources. Furthermore, we are concerned about the tendency that this line office would be used for advocacy as opposed to providing real services. The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology launched an investigation into NOAA’s Climate Services on September 21, 2011, and will not support the creation of a climate service until that investigation is complete.”
Worse than eliminated - prohibited.
National Science Foundation (NSF): “we recommend elimination of the $10 million Climate Change Education program".
Meanwhile, the EPA will be restrained from using any funds to research climate impacts.
Worse than eliminated - prohibited.
This ongoing Republican War On Science (and climate/green science in particular) comes at a pivotal moment in our history. There is no longer any question that the planet is warming. Even sceptics agree on that.
Must we not, then, focus our research capabilities on determining the source and impact such warming will have? Are we not morally obligated to do so? Do we not have a responsibility to future generations?
Nearly two years ago, The U.S. Military Advisory Committee released this statement in regards to their study "National Security and the Threat of Climate Change":
"We will pay for this one way or another. We will pay to reduce greenhouse gas emissions today, and we'll have to take an economic hit of some kind.
Or, we will pay the price later in military terms. And that will involve human lives. There will be a human toll."
The Pentagon listened, and began drawing up plans to address the National Security Threat of climate change. But House Republicans are ignoring not just the science - they are ignoring our military as well. They are ignoring what our own Pentagon calls "a threat to National Security". There can be no greater disservice to the American people.
The October 14th House Republican letter's opening paragraph includes this remarkable line:
We believe that the attached recommendations prioritize research and development programs that protect our national security and leadership, allow private investors and the marketplaceto thrive without undue Federal influence, and have the most potential for sustained long-term growth.
I could not possible disagree more.