White House: Climate Funding Is ‘A Waste of Your Money’

Pam Wright
Published: March 17, 2017

Despite years of research proving that climate change is real, the White House defended a proposal Thursday to slash federal funding for climate change programs, deeming it “a waste of your money.”

“I think the president was fairly straightforward on that: We’re not spending money on that anymore,” Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said during a White House briefing Thursday.

“We consider that to be a waste of your money to go out and do that. We consider that a basic tie to his campaign.”

The comments came after the release Thursday of President Donald Trump's budget, a plan named "America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again. Among program cuts that target scientific research, the arts, foreign aid and programs to help the poor, the Trump administration proposes a 31 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including a $100 million cut to climate change programs. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Coast Guard are also facing deep cuts if Congress approves. 

(MORE: Scientists Outraged by New Threat to Great Lakes)

The plan would reduce EPA's compliance enforcement budget by $129 million and eliminate funding for regional efforts like Great Lakes restoration, Chesapeake Bay and other geographic programs by $427 million.

Weeks earlier, insiders at the EPA said they expected a 25 percent cut. Instead, Trump went with 31 percent. 

The proposal would cut $2.6 billion from the agency, along with 3,200 fewer jobs, leaving a 2018 budget of $5.7 billion.

Other cuts in the proposed budget also target climate change, including zero funding for State Department climate change programs. This cut eliminates contributions to international climate change programs, along with funding for advanced energy and renewable power research. 

Not surprisingly, environmentalists, as well as some members of Congress, have blasted the budget, saying it is irresponsible to cut funding for climate change when there is plenty of evidence of increasing global temperatures, as well as the greenhouse gas emissions that cause that.

“Money talks, and Trump’s budget proposal screams that the only thing that matters in his America is corporate polluters’ profits and Wall Street billionaires,” said the Sierra Club's executive director Michael Brune. “If Trump refuses to be serious about protecting our health and climate, or our publicly owned lands, then Congress must act, do its job and reject this rigged budget.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) tweeted: “Democrats in Congress will emphatically oppose these cuts & urge our Republican colleagues to reject them as well.”

Environmentalists are counting on Congress to override much of what is being proposed. There has been pushback from both parties, particularly regarding the proposed EPA cuts. 

Trump has long voiced doubts about the validity of evidence supporting climate change.

In addition to cuts in the budget, Trump is set to roll back several key climate rules, including one meant to take a bite out of greenhouse gasses through emissions regulations on new vehicles

The $1.1 trillion budget outline proposes a $54 billion increase in defense spending, paid for through cuts to non-defense spending at the State Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the EPA, along with the elimination of other federal programs.

MORE: Animals and Climate Change - July 7, 2015

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

Featured Blogs

Meteorology of Saturday's Colombian Flood Disaster That Killed 254

By Dr. Jeff Masters
April 3, 2017

At least 254 people were killed in the in the city of Mocoa (population 40,000) in southwest Colombia near the border of Ecuador early Saturday, when torrential rains triggered a debris flow on a nearby mountain that surged into the town as a huge wall of water carrying tons of mud and debris. The disaster is the fourth deadliest weather-related disaster in Colombia’s recorded history.

Iconic American Destination Virtually Isolated for Rest of Year

By Christopher C. Burt
March 24, 2017

Half of the village of Big Sur, on the coast of central California, has lost its only access to the north following the demolition of the flood-damaged Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge along State Route 1 (also Rt. 1 or SR 1) on March 19. Although Rt. 1 to the south of Big Sur has reopened to traffic (after mud and rock slides were cleared) it is a long 70-mile journey along the windy but spectacular highway to Cambria, the next town of any significance where supplies can be had. CalTrans (California Department of Transportation) estimates it will take 6-9 months to rebuild a new bridge over the canyon.

An extraordinary meteorological event; was one of its results a 1000-year flood?

By Stu Ostro
October 5, 2015

The confluence of meteorological ingredients the first weekend in October 2015 resulted in an extraordinary weather event with severe impacts. Was one of them a 1000-year flood?

Why the Arrest of a Science-Loving 14-year-old Matters

By Shaun Tanner
September 16, 2015

By now, many of you have heard or read about the arrest of Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old high school student from Irving, Texas. Ahmed was arrested because school officials called the police after he showed one of his teachers his homemade clock. Mistaken for a bomb, Ahmed was taken into custody, interrogated, shamed, suspended (still on suspension today, Wednesday), and reprimanded. All of this after it has been found that the "device" he brought to school was indeed, a homemade clock.