Trump Seeks Elimination Of U.S. Climate Change Research Infrastructure


Fortunately, the spending plan passed by lawmakers last week could offset Trump's climate research reductions.

President Donald Trump's budget proposal released Monday does a number on climate change research infrastructure, from satellites to education programs to science centers.

According to the Scientific American, the targets cover a swath of agencies, including NASA, NOAA, U.S. EPA and the departments of the Interior and Energy.

The new White House proposal calls for a reduction in climate research at NASA, including a 6 percent cut to earth science programs for fiscal 2019. The budget request calls for an overall funding increase of more than 2 percent at NASA, which would have a $19.9 billion budget.

The NASA budget request calls for an end to financing for the International Space Station and a push to encourage private investment in that work, but Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have said that is a non-starter.

Other cuts involve eliminating satellite programs, including the functions of some that are currently in orbit:

The total savings would be $133 million for the five missions, including the Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, Ocean Ecosystem (PACE) mission, which is scheduled for a 2022 launch. As with most satellites, PACE has multiple functions and can be used to forecast harmful algal blooms, which have plagued the Great Lakes in recent years. Trump's proposal would also eliminate the Earth-observing abilities of the Deep Space Climate Observatory, which was proposed by then-Vice President Al Gore and also measures solar storms.

Other program cuts include:

  • A 20% reduction to NOAA's budget.
  • A 20% cut to the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, "the lead federal agency in providing science and mapping on ecosystems, energy and mineral resources, water use and natural hazards like earthquakes and volcanoes."
  • $13 million to fund just three of the eight regional climate science centers and one national climate adaptation science center—the others would presumably close.
  • The budget for the EPA's Office of Science and Technology would drop from $714 million to $449 million, and the office would lose 643 staff positions.

Some of the Trump administration's targeted reductions in climate research could be offset by the bipartisan spending plan reached by lawmakers last week.