Trump Administration declares war on climate science realities with key federal agencies cuts: EPA, NOAA, and NASA

Trump Administration has proposed funding cuts for fiscal 2018 targeting overall environmental protection responsibilities of more than a dozen federal agencies.

Cuts include marine sciences and sharp reductions and elimination of climate-ocean science specific research and reporting within NASA and NOAA impacting grants and research currently benefiting Hawai’i. 

The Trump administration has targeted environmental protections across the board with EPA a top target in their cross-hairs, and climate change research set for elimination. And while the cuts are essentially an opening salvo in what promises to be a fight with Congress once the budget requests formally arrive, they also demonstrate the level of hostility many scientists feared their work would face from a new Administration loaded with cabinet and agency level managers filled with fossil-fuel interests and climate change deniers.

NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research would lose $126 million, or 26 percent of the funds it has under the current budget. Its satellite data division would lose $513 million, or 22 percent under the current budget defunding proposal of science programs by the Administration. The biggest single cut proposed comes from NOAA’s satellite division, known as the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service, includes a key repository of climate and environmental information, the National Centers for Environmental Information. NOAA research has recently determined that there has been no recent slowdown in the rate of climate change or the predicated sea-level impacts facing Hawaii communities, and by extension, future impacts on the state’s economy.

Another proposed cut would eliminate a $73 million program called Sea Grant, which supports coastal research conducted through 33 university programs across the country.  The National Marine Fisheries Service and National Weather Service may be fortunate by comparison, facing as little 5 percent cuts.

That’s on top of proposed reductions to climate research at U.S. EPA, including a 40 percent cut to the Office of Research and Development, which runs much of EPA’s major research. The cuts specifically target work on climate change, air and water quality, and chemical safety.

The Trump administration also has proposed 20 percent staffing reduction at EPA, beginning by targeting climate scientists.

The importance Climate research to the county is illustrated by the fact that more than a dozen federal agencies, including the U.S. Geological Survey, the Interior Department and the Department of Energy, conduct climate research.

Further cuts are expected, particularly at NASA, which develops and launches the satellites that provide invaluable information on climate change used throughout the world.

The targeted withdrawal of Federal support for state environmental protection programs and marine management is projected to include a loss of Federal funding, expertise, and the availability of Federal research data and assets, which together, have historically benefited Hawaii in the state’s management of its fisheries, marine ecosystems, clean air and water, climate change preparation, and the state’s transition to a clean energy driven economyreductions in future Federal support for Hawaii’s environmental management programs could produce consequences for Hawai’i, its residents, and economy that are not yet fully understood.

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