Analysis: Climate Budget Cuts Are Smart Management, Not an Attack on Science


By: - Climate DepotMay 26, 2017 8:19 AM

By Katie Tubb / Nicolas Loris / @NiconomistLoris /

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.

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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.

For all the Obama administration’s emphasis on global warming as an issue, the Government Accountability Office’s December 2016 assessment found only partial improvement in program management and could not yet determine if government standards showed whether programs were being effective, as they had only just been implemented.

The Government Accountability Office noted in 2009 that “the federal government’s emerging adaptation activities were carried out in an ad hoc manner and were not well coordinated across federal agencies, let alone with state and local governments.”

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.