Despite aggressive requests from the Obama Administration and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the House in the most recent appropriations debate made significant efforts to reduce funding for climate-related science. The Senate prevailed in the subsequent negotiations, and nearly all Office of Science programs received modest funding increases.
Although it lost its appropriations battle, the House’s efforts to trim the Office of Science’s funding demonstrate its strong skepticism about climate science. Further reflecting its attitudes, the House defunded enforcement of standards for more efficient light bulbs, publicly challenged the validity of climate science, relentlessly pushed the Keystone XL pipeline, attacked President Obama’s efforts to improve CAFE Standards and more.
The House efforts occurred at the same time Richard Muller, a prominent former skeptic of global warming, testified that his independent study group had essentially validated the IPCC temperature findings.
In a typical year the United States historically has seen three or four weather disasters costing at least $1 billion each. Last year, the U.S. experienced a dozen such disasters, and the damage total is expected to exceed $50billion. [The New York Times]
And the American people, whom the House is paid to represent, are not exactly failing to notice. Despite reduced media coverage of climate change in the past year, 65% of Americans recently surveyed said that “global warming is affecting weather in the United States,” and 57% disagreed with the statement, “With the economy in such bad shape, the U.S. can’t afford to reduce global warming.” [Yale Project on Climate Change Communication]
My questions to the Expert community are these: Where are we heading on the politics and policy of climate change? Is climate related science and R&D heading to the dustbin? Why does climate change seem to have dropped off the media’s radar screen? Is there public will to do something about climate change anymore?