Climate Scientists are in a Tough Spot…

Politico has become nothing but yet another outlet for left wing opinion and spin.

Darren Samuelsohn writes in an article titled: Cold shoulder for climate change bemoaning the lack of heat under the smoke of “climate change”.  Apparently there is not much interest in “climate science” in Washington these days.

Climate scientists are in a tough spot.

They have never been more certain about what they know. Powerful new satellites can hone in on mountainous regions to measure ice melt. Stronger computers model changes in disruptive weather patterns. Scientists are even more comfortable attributing climate change to visible effects around the globe, from retreating Himalayan glaciers to southwestern U.S. droughts and acidifying oceans.

Who is to blame? Why, of course, it is the House Republicans – even though the Dems were AWOL on one of their pet issues as well.

Yet scientists are still stuck in the mud trying to get that message out in Washington, where House Republicans made one of their first orders of business passing legislation to zero out research budgets for domestic and international climate efforts and unraveling a key EPA declaration that humans have played a critical role in changing the planet.

Mr. Samuelsohn  makes it seem that the “anti-science” Republicans have terminated all funding but what exactly were the draconian cuts?

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) defended the cuts in an appearance on Fox News Sunday earlier this year saying, “Last year, these agencies got double and triple digit increases. They have thrown so much money at these bureaucracies that they can’t even spend all the money.”

Other proposed cuts to EPA include the agency’s Global Change program, a research effort focused on the potential impacts of climate change. The House bill would cut $7 million from the $21 million the program received in 2010.

So Politico’s assertion that they “zero(ed) out research budgets for domestic and international climate efforts” is not true.

The other “cuts” were:

  • EPA’s Energy Star program reduced by $10.5 million below the 2010 level, bringing its budget to roughly $43 million.
  • Cut $107 million from climate change programs under the jurisdiction of the Interior-EPA spending subcommittee, a 29 percent drop from the 2010 funding level. They include the U.S. Geological Survey’s Climate Effects Network and its Science Application and biological carbon sequestration programs.
  • Cut spending on land and water acquisition and conservation programs by more than $200 million compared to the 2010 funding level. The bill would also prevent the Bureau of Land Management from implementing its new “wildlands” policy, established in December by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. The policy, which has been in Western Republicans’ cross hairs, allows BLM to survey and provide interim protections for certain public lands that have not received a formal wilderness designation from Congress.
  • Zero out $500 million included in the White House’s 2011 budget request for major World Bank programs that help developing nations transition to clean energy, cope with the consequences of weather disasters and protect tropical forests. Obama had requested about $575 million, the proposed GOP budget zeroes out the entire collection of funds.
  • Cut the U.S. contribution to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) from $90 million in the president’s proposed 2011 budget to $32 million.
  • The Energy Department’s Office of Science would see a cut of $893.2 million below the 2010 spending level of $4.9 billion. Obama had requested $5.1 billion for the office in 2011.
  • The Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program would take a $900 million cut, relative to the White House’s $2.3 billion request last year. Republicans haven’t yet specified which sub-programs they will trim. The EERE office does applied research from wind and solar power to buildings, biofuels, electric cars and fuel cells. EERE and the science office would take an additional hit because the new bill would strip agencies of any remaining stimulus funding. EERE has more than $10 billion in such funds and the Office of Science $800 million, according to Appropriations Committee Republicans.
  • The House package would also slash funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, a DOE office looking for breakthrough energy technologies. Last year, the White House requested $300 million for ARPA-E, a crown jewel of its energy strategy. Republicans want to chop that by $250 million.
  • Other DOE divisions escaped with smaller cuts. Obama requested $760 million for the Fossil Energy office last year, a number Republicans intend to cut by only $66 million. The president requested $824 million for the Nuclear Energy program last year, and Republicans want to trim $169 million.
  • NOAA and NASA were also major beneficiaries of the 2009 economic stimulus package, receiving a collective $1.8 billion largely targeted for climate satellites and science programs. NOAA’s budget would fall to $4.3 billion from approximately $4.7 billion in 2010 — well below the White House’s proposed 2011 budget of $5.5 billion.
  • The GOP plan would cut the agency’s operations, research and facilities account by $454.3 million, to $2.85 billion, 13 percent below the 2010 level and roughly in line with the amount allocated in 2008.
  • NOAA’s procurement, acquisition and construction (PAC) account would receive $1.46 billion, a 7 percent increase over the 2010 level of $1.36 billion — though more than 30 percent below the White House’s proposed 2011 funding level of $2.18 billion.

The money quotes are taken directly from the National Research Council report:

Climate change is occurring, is very likely caused primarily by the emission of greenhouse gases from human activities, and poses significant risks for a range of human and natural systems. Emissions continue to increase, which will result in further change and greater risks. In the judgment of this report’s authoring committee, the environmental, economic, and humanitarian risks posed by climate change indicate a pressing need for substantial action to limit the magnitude of climate change and to prepare for adapting to its impacts.

Although there is some uncertainty about future risk, there are many reasons why it is prudent to act now. The sooner that serious efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions proceed, the lower the risks posed by climate change, and the less pressure there will be to make larger, more rapid, and potentially more expensive reductions later. In addition, every day around the world, crucial investment decisions are made about equipment and infrastructure that can “lock in” commitments to greenhouse gas emissions for decades to come. Most actions taken to reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts are also common sense investments that will offer protection against natural climate variations and extreme events. Finally, while it may be possible to scale back or reverse many responses to climate change (if they somehow proved to be more stringent than actually needed), it is difficult or impossible to “undo” climate change, once manifested.

So, cuts? Not so much. Confirmed anthropogenic causes – nah, it is “…very likely caused primarily by the emission of greenhouse gases from human activities…” and their conclusion is that “…Although there is some uncertainty about future risk…”, we should completely reorder the economies of the world and alter the course of human development.

After Politico’s hyperventilating and declarative article, I guess I expected something a bit more concrete.

Talk Amongst Yourselves:

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