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Trump’s Budgetary Plan Wants to Hide Climate Change

The Allocation of Money for NASA Supports Only Space-Travel Research

Trump%27s+budget+proposal+includes+%243.7+billion+for+the+Orion+crew+vehicle%2C+which+NASA+is+developing+to+send+humans+on+deep-space+missions.+%28NASA%29
Trump's budget proposal includes $3.7 billion for the Orion crew vehicle, which NASA is developing to send humans on deep-space missions. (NASA)

Trump's budget proposal includes $3.7 billion for the Orion crew vehicle, which NASA is developing to send humans on deep-space missions. (NASA)

Photo by: LA Times

Photo by: LA Times

Trump's budget proposal includes $3.7 billion for the Orion crew vehicle, which NASA is developing to send humans on deep-space missions. (NASA)

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Although NASA was not nearly as crippled by Trump’s 2018 budgetary plan as organizations such as the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and the National Institutes of Health, cuts in its program display the Trump administration’s desire to deny climate change.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory has been planning to create and implement what is known as the Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3 (OCO-3), an instrument that would measure the precise amount of dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide, one of the main greenhouse gases, is a compound that has been connected to global warming and climate change, and with the 2018 budgetary plan, funding for the development of this instrumentation would be eliminated. Further studies from NASA (along with some from the EPA) concerning the connection between carbon dioxide emissions and their distributions—which could be largely connected to the burning of fossil-fuels in industries supported by Trump—would therefore likely be prevented from being published.

But OCO-3 isn’t the only environmental research component that is on the chopping block according to the new budget. The Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem mission (or PACE, which was was intended to monitor the planet’s ocean health) and the Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory pathfinder (or CLARREO, which would have used a solar spectrometer to produce highly accurate climate projections) would also vanish with the $2oo million that would be cut from the NASA budget. A study in the LA Times also suggests that anohter $250 million would be eliminated from grants and loans that would manage coastal and marine habitats, and research or educate people about these ecosystems.

“I’m not at all surprised, but I’m very disappointed that the administration chose to go through with the threat,” Charles Bolden said, the NASA administrator under President Obama. “And it’s not just the environment — it’s their attack on education, it’s their attack on research and development, it’s their attack on everything that has allowed us to maintain our leadership in the world.”

Slashing funding for many of NASA’s programs that would even insinuate the existence of climate change, the Trump administration decided to focus mainly on space exploration and armament. 

USA Today
Trump signs spending bill for NASA, whose budget he just proposed cutting

For example, the Department of Energy would take a hit in its funding of clean-energy programs but an increase in its funding to maintain its nuclear arsenal.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, under the proposed financial plan, is expected to be able to keep the Mars 2020 mission, which involves sending a sample-collecting rover to Mars. It is also going to be allowed to keep its Europa Clipper—a spacecraft set to fly by Jupiter’s icy moon that is believed to hide a liquid ocean and seems like a potential home for extraterrestrial life.

It is clear that through NASA (and the manipulation of the EPA, though that is a topic for another time), the Trump administration plans on blocking all research and funding that would suggest climate change exists. This is likely to bolster coal and oil industries that are already expanding because of executive decisions made earlier this year, such as the reopening of the XL and Dakota Access Pipelines.

What’s dangerous about this mindset, whether or not climate change is actually caused by human activities, is the fact that it will lead to less innovation in renewable resources, and more dependence on nonrenewable ones. Whether or not these resources are better for the environment (or would help mitigate the causes of climate change), the use of nonrenewable resources is inherently unsustainable, and should be stopped at some point.

To read more on what was requested by NASA for their 2017-2018 fiscal year budget, you can go to: https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/fy_2017_nasa_agency_fact_sheet.pdf.

Note that the listed items on this document are requested, meaning that they do not specify those approved or not approved by the budgetary plan made by Donald Trump’s administration.

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