As a meteorologist and climate change (what happened to global warming?) investigator I constantly hear the charge that we who do not kneel at the altar of Al Gore are simply hired hacks for “Big Oil.” We are clueless stooges who will say anything for money. This old and tired argument is used over and over again by people who don’t do any research to back up that claim, they simply “know it’s true” because they read it in the New York Times or Newsweek or saw it on some television program. I wonder how many of those making this charge drive a car, use plastics, fly on planes or use virtually any product that we in our hydrocarbon based society enjoy? I’d bet all of them.
But when it comes to climate change they insist that “Big Oil” is pouring billions and billions of dollars into skeptic’s bank accounts. They are not. I have not received one dime of money from any oil company nor do I know anyone who has. But the claim is Big Oil is essentially employing skeptics to do their dirty work for them. If it were true part of that dirty work would be defending the right to use fossil fuels to power the world today and tomorrow despite the UN’s assertion that the developed world has expropriated the future from the developing nations because they “used up all the carbon space in the air.” Part of that dirty work would involve liberating carbon dioxide from its label as pollution by the main stream media and carbon opportunists like Al Gore and large Wall Street investment firms. Part of the dirty work would be exposing hypocrites like film maker James Cameron and billionaire Ted Turner who want you to live with less to “save the planet” while they live with more. Part of the dirty work would be exposing the truth about the benefits of more carbon dioxide in the air, its enhancement of agriculture and all living things and its miniscule role in changing the future climate of the world. Part of that dirty work would be telling the truth about where the real money in climate change is. Here’s the result of some dirty work for you.
If you want to know who is getting the big bucks for climate change research one needs look no farther than our own government. Your government will spend in the neighborhood of 4 billion dollars this year to study climate change. And that’s just this year! You only need to look at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s 2011 budget request to get the answers. Go down to chapter 15, Climate Change in the FY 2011 Budget. Here you will find out how much money is going to be spent in just one year to save you from climate change. The numbers are staggering. In 2011 your government will spend $10.6 million dollars a day to study, combat and educate people about climate change.
The big winner in the climate change money train is the National Science Foundation. They are requesting $1.616 billion dollars. They want $766 million dollars for the Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability Program. This is a 15.9% increase from their last budget. They also need another $370 million for the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) an increase of 16%. The say they also need another $480 million for Atmospheric Sciences an increase of 8.1% and Earth Sciences up 8.7%. Oh, and not to be left out we need $955 million for the Geosciences Directorate, an increase of 7.4%. That’s a mighty hefty sum of money to dig into if you’re doing climate change research.
The second largest request for money in 2011 comes from the Department of Energy. They say they need $627 million dollars for things like funding for renewable energy. The request represents a whopping 37% increase from last year! They want a 12% increase for energy efficiency programs. They want to eliminate $2.7 billion dollars of subsidies for industries that emit large amounts of carbon dioxide. A 37% increase? I thought we were broke.
Well apparently there’s plenty of money around! Let’s get NASA in on the parade of open hands. For 2011 NASA wants $438 million dollars to study climate change, an increase of 14%. NASA’s total Earth Sciences budget request is actually $1.8 billion dollars. Some $809 million of that is for satellites, some of which are specifically put in orbit to study climate change. It is difficult to separate out which ones are for climate monitoring and which ones are not so I won’t include this number in the over all climate change money train, but make no mistake about it, a significant percentage of the $809 million is exclusively for climate change satellites.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is looking for $437 million dollars for climate research. This is an increase of 21.4% from the previous budget. This includes funds for regional and national assessments of climate change including ocean acidification. Once again, another meaty bag of money to tap into for researchers who have nice cars and big houses and need to keep up the payments. All aboard the money train!
The Department of the Interior (DOI) is also interested in tapping into the climate change vault. They say they need $244 million in 2011. Of this total, $171 million is for the Climate Change Adaptation Initiative. This program identifies areas and species that are most vulnerable to climate change and implements coping strategies. Another $73 million is needed for The New Energy Frontier Initiative. The goal of this program is to increase solar, wind and geothermal energy capacity. Interesting that solar and wind power don’t actually make any money without this government funding.
Wow! This list just goes on and on, no wonder we have a $14 trillion dollar deficit!
But wait! as the say on TV there’s more. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants there share of the pot of gold. They need $169 million to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, an increase of 1%. Do you really believe that next year greenhouse gases will be reduced by EPA spending $169 million dollars? I would bet the ranch that greenhouse gases will continue to increase next year and the year after that and the year after that despite EPA spending millions of dollars. It’s a complete waste of $169 million dollars.
I’m beginning to wonder if there is any government agency that does not get some climate change funding! The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) wants $338 million dollars for climate change programs. They want $159 million dollars for climate change research, up a whopping 42%. They also want another $179 million for renewable energy, an increase of 41%! The USDA’s climate change efforts are supposed to help farmer and land owners adapt to the impacts of climate change.
We’ll there you have it. How much of the requested money these government agencies actually get is not yet known. The way they spend money in Washington you can rest assured they’ll get most of it.
So the next time someone says all those climate change deniers are being propped up with money from Big Oil you might want to bring up the nearly 4 billion dollars that is being hand fed to government agencies, Colleges and Universities and private research facilities.