Obama’s Budget Calls for Billions in Climate Funding
In yet another sign President Barack Obama is making climate change a big theme of his final two years in office, the White House today released its proposed $3.99 trillion budget, and it contains a slew of programs designed to fight global warming. It’s important to note that this budget is the president’s proposal—a blueprint—given to Congress to be fought over or blatantly ignored; it’s not law. So, this is first-and-foremost a political document used to outline the president’s vision and define his terms of engagement with Congress. Most of these measures, to use the language of the moment, will likely be “dead on arrival,” given that both the House and Senate are now under Republican control.
Having said that, the document is useful in showing which tools Obama wants to use in fighting climate change—a kind of “would if he could” laundry list of desires. Here’s what you need to know:
1. Increased spending on renewable energy research and development
The budget proposes $7.4 billion for programs designed to stimulate the development of clean energy technology, mainly through the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Agriculture, and the National Science Foundation. That number is an increase from the $6.5 billion Congress enacted for this year, according to Reuters.
The budget outlines some of these activities, including fixing the energy grid to be able to use more renewable energy, reducing the costs of clean energy, finding cheaper solutions for carbon capture and storage from fossil fuels, and doing research to measure methane emissions that leak from natural gas operations.