Final Obama Budget Makes Climate Change Top Priority

Published March 16, 2016

President Barack Obama’s final budget request seeks to boost climate-change-related funding across multiple federal agencies.

The White House Office of Management and Budget wrote in a tweet Obama’s commitment to action combatting global warming is “evident throughout his budget, cover to cover.”

Obama proposes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) receive a total $8.2 billion in discretionary funding in 2017, and it requests Congress provide $1.65 billion over the next 10 years in mandatory government spending to harden infrastructure against climate-change-related threats, a project that would be overseen by EPA.

Under Obama’s fiscal year 2017 budget, EPA would spend $235 million to support “efforts to address climate change through commonsense standards, guidelines, and voluntary programs.”

The budget would also direct EPA to grant $25 million to states to help them implement the Clean Power Plan—EPA’s program for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants—and Congress would be required to give the United Nations Green Climate Fund $750 million, an increase over the Obama administration’s fiscal year 2016 request of $500 million.

Other climate provisions scattered throughout Obama’s budget proposal include $100 million for NASA to develop low-carbon aircraft and $311 million for the National Flood Insurance Program’s efforts to help communities prepare for increased flood risks caused by climate change.

Could Stifle American Economy

James M. Taylor, a senior fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute, which publishes Environment & Climate News, says Christmas will not come early this year for EPA or other potential beneficiaries of Obama’s budget.

“Powerful scientific evidence indicates we are not facing a global warming crisis,” Taylor said. “Devoting scarce economic resources to battling this fictitious crisis continues to stifle the American economy. Fortunately, Congress is unlikely to play Santa Claus for Obama’s fairytale global warming wish list. Doing so would raise energy prices and cost the average American household thousands of dollars each year.

“If President Obama truly believes we are facing a serious climate crisis, he should push his liberal allies to support more development and utilization of affordable hydro, natural gas, and nuclear power,” Taylor said.

Dan Kish, senior vice president for policy at the Institute for Energy Research, said, “The president is totally out of touch with reality when it comes to his budget proposals, starting with his proposed $10.25 tax per barrel on oil.

“The fact the president requests hundreds of millions of dollars for the United Nations to build a climate empire and then tops it off with the creation of another $1.6 billion slush fund for the EPA, to be doled out to their friends to carry out their global warming mission, shows this is not a serious budget proposal, and Congress should not humor his fantasies,” Kish said.

Kenneth Artz ([email protected]) writes from Dallas, Texas.