Director Mick Mulvaney of the Office of Management of Budget has stated that the federal government will not provide funding for efforts to combat climate change. His comments arrive just as President Donald Trump's administration unveiled its budget proposal for 2018, which calls for large cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and climate change programs.
On Mar. 16, Mulvaney stated during a press briefing that the Trump administration was not interested in spending federal money to combat climate change.
"We're not spending money on that anymore," Mulvaney said, according to NPR. "We consider that to be a waste of your money to go out and do that."
That same day, the Trump administration submitted its 2018 budget proposal to Congress. The budget calls for reducing the EPA budget by 31 percent in addition to $100 million in spending cuts to climate change programs across the federal government.
If passed, the budget would eliminate spending on the Global Climate Initiative, which provides funding for developing countries to shift to alternative energies and prepare for changing climate conditions. The proposal also calls for cutting all funding for former President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan, as well as "international climate change programs, climate change research and partnership programs, and related efforts."
The Trump administration has also called for cutting $102 million out of NASA's Earth sciences budget and the elimination of several of the agency's programs designed to monitor the effects of climate change.
Both Trump and EPA head Scott Pruitt have indicated skepticism against the scientific community's consensus that man-made emissions are impacting the climate.
In November 2012, Trump took to social media to assert that climate change was a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese government.
"The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive," Trump tweeted out.
On March 9, Pruitt disputed the scientific consensus that carbon emissions from the fossil fuel industry contribute to climate change.
"I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there's tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it's a primary contributor to the global warming that we see," Pruitt told CNBC.
Director of the International Climate Initiative David Waskow, who also works with the World Resources Institute, believes that Mulvaney's take on the cost-effectiveness of combating climate change is short-sighted.
"If we don't take serious action on climate change, it'll cost us far more money to deal with severe weather events, rising sea levels, and security risks from displacement and resource scarcity," Waskow told The Independent.
Director Chris McEntee of the American Geophysical Union asserts that climate change will exert its cost whether the Trump administration wants to acknowledge it or not.
"They can cut the funding, but climate change is real and we're going to have to deal with it," McEntee said. "Slashing this kind of funding is not going to assist in building the resilience to climate and the impacts of climate change that this country needs."
Members of Congress will have the final say on what 2018 budget is passed. Rush Holt, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, noted that these cuts to climate change programs are "the President's proposal, and it's up to Congress to respond and make decisions on budget and appropriations."