Trump plans to scrap funding for climate science, boost fossil fuels

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to members of the National Sheriffs' Association during a roundtable with them at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 13, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Updated 14 February 2018
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Trump plans to scrap funding for climate science, boost fossil fuels

WASHINGTON: The Trump administration is targeting federal funding for studying and tracking climate change while boosting the continued burning of planet-warming fossil fuels.
The White House’s 2019 spending plan seeks to reduce or eliminate climate science programs across an array of federal agencies, from gutting efforts to track greenhouse gas emissions and research to eliminating funding for NASA satellites that study the impacts of climate change.
Though President Donald Trump’s budget unveiled earlier this week is highly unlikely to be adopted by Congress, it is a direct indicator of just how little weight his administration is giving to the increasingly dire warnings from climate scientists about longer droughts, stronger storms and rising seas.
Trump has called climate change a “hoax” and appointed forceful advocates for increased oil, gas and coal production to lead key federal agencies overseeing environmental enforcement, energy production and public lands.
In the 160-page budget summary released by the White House, the term “climate change” is only mentioned once — in the name of a science program marked for elimination at the Environmental Protection Agency. A week after EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt suggested global warming might be beneficial to humanity, his agency issued a 47-page strategic plan for the next five years that does not include the word “climate.”
Environmentalists and climate scientists say the deep budget cuts, if implemented, would amount to suppressing facts about global warming while turning up the Earth’s thermostat by pumping more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
“Trump’s budget is a statement of his priorities, and this budget demonstrates that he could care less about protecting clean air, clean water, public health or our public lands,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. “This is a shameful, ideological document that represents the extent to which Trump has fully given himself over to corporate special interests above all else.”
Trump’s proposed budget for EPA eliminates $16.5 million in funding and 48 full-time jobs at the Global Change Research program, which develops scientific information related to climate change and its impacts on human health, the environment and the economy. Also zeroed out is $66 million for the Atmospheric Protection Program, a collection of climate-related partnerships seeking voluntarily air pollution reductions by private companies.
EPA’s Atmospheric Protection Program, tasked with completing an annual US inventory of greenhouse gas emissions to fulfill international climate treaty obligations would be slashed from $103 million to less than $14 million, a reduction of about 87 percent. The White House would also eliminate the Science to Achieve Results program, which provides $28 million in research grants and academic fellowships in environmental science and engineering.
At the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, money for climate-related research would be cut by more than one third, to $99 million. That includes eliminating research programs to better understand the Earth climate system and research into decreases in Arctic sea ice. Trump’s budget also seeks to cancel five Earth-observing satellites costing about $133 million in 2019. That includes a satellite designed to monitor Earth’s carbon cycle, which is key to tracking climate change.
Meanwhile, the White House is promoting what Trump has dubbed an “energy dominance” strategy, emphasizing increased investments in oil, gas and coal. At the Department of Energy, research into new renewable energy technologies is shifting to boost research into fossil fuels.
The budget “demonstrates the administration’s commitment to American energy dominance, making hard choices, and reasserting the proper role of the federal government,” the White House’s budget blueprint says. “In so doing, the budget emphasizes energy technologies best positioned to enable American energy independence and domestic job-growth.”
The budget for the Department of Interior seeks to ramp up drilling and mining on federally owned land while repealing an Obama-era rule requiring oil and gas operations to reduce leaks of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that traps about 25 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.
“The president’s budget is the textbook definition of ‘pennywise, pound foolish,’” said Shana Udvardy, a spokeswoman for the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Natural disasters do more damage because of climate change, and 2017 was unprecedented for deadly extreme weather events.”


Kanye West meets Uganda’s president, gifts pair of sneakers

Updated 15 October 2018
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Kanye West meets Uganda’s president, gifts pair of sneakers

  • Museveni said he and the American rapper held “fruitful discussions”
  • Uganda’s presidency released photos of a hoodie-wearing West meeting Museveni at the State House and exchanging gifts

KAMPALA, Uganda: Kanye West has met with Uganda’s president during a visit to the East African nation and given the 74-year-old leader a pair of white sneakers.
President Yoweri Museveni said he and the American rapper held “fruitful discussions” on Monday about promoting tourism and arts.
West and his wife, reality TV star Kim Kardashian West, have been vacationing in a national park in Uganda. He is said to be recording music in a tent.
Uganda’s presidency released photos of a hoodie-wearing West meeting Museveni at the State House and exchanging gifts.
While excited tourism officials see the visit as an endorsement of the country’s tourism potential, some Ugandans wryly pointed out that Museveni cracked down on hoodies earlier this year when he announced that motorcycle riders could no longer wear them in a bid to fight rising crime.
The president, one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, has been at the center of unrest in recent weeks as Uganda’s large youth population increasingly expresses frustration over unemployment and accuses Museveni of being out of touch.
Uganda’s government has been criticized over its treatment of a local pop star-turned-opposition lawmaker, Bobi Wine, who alleges torture by security forces. The government denies it.