Trump's Budget Slashes Climate Change Funding : The Two-Way The White House's proposed federal budget cuts everything from research to regulation, and makes clear that the administration doesn't view climate change as a priority.
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Trump's Budget Slashes Climate Change Funding

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Trump's Budget Slashes Climate Change Funding

Trump's Budget Slashes Climate Change Funding

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

President Trump's budget includes cuts in federal funding. And his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, says the many cuts include funding to fight climate change.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MICK MULVANEY: Regarding the question as to climate change, I think the president was fairly straightforward - is that we're not spending money on that anymore. We consider that to be a waste of your money.

INSKEEP: NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce reports on what the president's budget would do.

NELL GREENFIELDBOYCE, BYLINE: Until last May, Andrew Light was at the State Department focusing on climate issues. Now he's a senior fellow at the World Resources Institute. He's dismayed by the Trump administration's proposed budget.

ANDREW LIGHT: It's terrible from the perspective of having any concern at all about climate change.

GREENFIELDBOYCE: The programs he ran at the State Department to work cooperatively with countries like India - they'd all be gone. And the U.S. wouldn't make any contributions to the Green Climate Fund. That's the United Nations' effort to help developing countries adapt to climate change and adopt clean energy. The U.S. had promised to give it 3 billion bucks. Light says none of this is good.

LIGHT: Whether or not we think that climate change is real, you've got to recognize that the rest of the world does.

GREENFIELDBOYCE: And other countries see it as a threat.

LIGHT: So now we're saying - well, we don't agree with you. You shouldn't actually be worried about that. That's just something that they're not going to buy. That's going to diminish our influence. That's going to make us less safe.

GREENFIELDBOYCE: Across the government, this budget has it in for climate. The Environmental Protection Agency would lose its Clean Power Plan. That's the Obama administration's effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

And then there's NASA - it's developing a trio of new satellites that could track carbon dioxide and make other measurements related to climate change. Under the proposed budget, they'd all be canceled. Ken Caldeira is a climate researcher at the Carnegie Institution for Science. He says a lot of time and effort has been invested into these missions. Scientists spend years carefully planning every detail.

KEN CALDEIRA: And to have thousands of person-years' worth of effort scuttled due to a capricious decision is really upsetting to the scientific community.

GREENFIELDBOYCE: Now, surveys show that the majority of Trump supporters don't think there's solid evidence that humans are causing climate change. And others say there are just too many drawbacks to trying to shift away from fossil fuels. William Yeatman is a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

WILLIAM YEATMAN: The fact is that there are costs to completely overhauling the way that energy is produced. And remember, energy is a fundamental input into every single act of economic production.

GREENFIELDBOYCE: That's why he feels good about how this budget handles climate - at least so far. The administration has promised a more detailed plan.

YEATMAN: This is the skinny budget. It is just, I guess, a taste, an outline of the real deal, which comes in May.

GREENFIELDBOYCE: Some science groups, meanwhile, are gearing up to fight.

CHRIS MCENTEE: They can cut the funding, but climate change is real. And we're going to have to deal with it.

GREENFIELDBOYCE: Chris McEntee is head of the American Geophysical Union, a scientific organization dedicated to research on Earth and space.

MCENTEE: Slashing this kind of funding is not going to assist in building the resiliency to climate and the impacts of climate change that this country needs.

GREENFIELDBOYCE: That's why groups like hers will be reaching out to lawmakers in Congress. They, not the president, have the final word on the budget.

Nell Greenfieldboyce, NPR News.

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