2011-06-29 01:43:25Latest Big Lie: US spent at least $106.7 billion on climate change according to the GAO
Stephen Leahy


This number is making the rounds with howls of outrage ie the big money in climate change

- from Watts


Number of the Week is $106.8 Billion. According to a May 2011, report to Congress by the US General Accountability Office, the total Federal Government funding for climate change from 1993 to 2010 amounts to $106.7 Billion. This does not include the revenues lost to the Federal Government for special deductions and tax credits (including grants in lieu of tax credits) of $16.1 Billion. These bring the total to $122.8 Billion.

The 2009 “Stimulus Bill” provided $26.1 Billion of this amount, with $25.2 Billion to the Department of Energy, including $16.8 Billion for energy efficiency and alternative energy. In the Fiscal Years (FY) 2009 and 2010 (which ended on September 30, 2010), the Federal government provided $52.8 Billion in climate change funding.

In terms of four stated general categories (without regard to agency) of the total funding, not including the Stimulus Bill, $43.0 Billion is categorized as technology, $31.3 Billion is categorized as science, $5.0 Billion is categorized as international aid, and $65 Million is categorized as wildlife adaptation.

One of the benefits of this funding may have been new satellites to better understand the earth and its weather, yet, including the Stimulus Bill, of $21.6 Billion to NASA only $1.1 Billion fell in the category of Direct Technology / Exploration. Under the general category of Science, NASA received $20.6 Billion for science, aeronautics and technology (note there may be errors due to rounding). The Department of Energy is the agency that has received the most funding — $58.7 Billion.

Global warming / climate change is big business in the US, courtesy of the taxpayer. Apparently, Washington is unaware of the high unemployment rate and economic stagnation in the rest of the country. Please see referenced article under “Expanding the Orthodoxy”

2011-06-29 01:57:20Stephen Leahy
John Hartz
John Hartz

Have you reviewed the GOA report itself? I ask because we have no reason to believe anything that Anthony Watts amd the Climate Denial Spin Machine says about its contents.

During my professional career, I relied extensively on GOA reports about transportation matters. I have a great deal of respect for the quality of GOA reports.

Should SkS post a blog article about the GOA report? I'd be willing to draft one if there is agreement to proceed.

2011-06-29 03:25:24
Dana Nuccitelli

Energy efficiency investments count as "climate change funding"?  It looks like anything which results in reduced GHG emissions is counted, in fact.

badger - I think it would be worthwhile to do a response post where we examine specifically where the supposed $106 billion is actually going.  Basically dispel the myth that Watts is propagating that this investment wouldn't happen if not for global warming.

2011-06-29 04:42:51
John Mason


Indeed, I'd be very keen to see that number tracked back to base then broken down in detail.

Mind you,

"the total Federal Government funding for climate change from 1993 to 2010 amounts to $106.7 Billion" could equally mean the subsidies for coal, oil companies etc!

Cheers - John

2011-06-29 06:08:00What GAO found...
John Hartz
John Hartz

What GAO Found

Funding for climate change activities reported by OMB increased from $4.6 billion in 2003 to $8.8 billion in 2010, and is organized in a complex, crosscutting system. OMB reports funding in four categories: technology to reduce emissions, science to better understand climate change, international assistance for developing countries, and wildlife adaptation to respond to actual or expected changes. Over this period, technology funding, the largest category, increased from $2.56 billion to $5.5 billion and increased as a share of total funding. OMB also reported $26.1 billion as funding for climate change programs and activities in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and tax expenditures to encourage emissions reductions, with $7.2 billion in federal revenue losses in 2010. Many federal entities manage related activities, including interagency programs that coordinate agency actions.

This is the lead paragraph of the GAO Highlights summary of GOA-11-317.  

Highlights of GAO-11-317, a report to the Ranking Member, Committee on Natural Resources, House of Representatives

The title of the full GAO-11-317 report is: "Climate Change: Improvements Needed to Clarify National Priorities and Better Align Them with Federal Funding Decisions."

2011-06-29 06:20:50A couple of points...
John Hartz
John Hartz

1. Watts's post does not identify the GAO report by name nor provide a link to it. I believe it is safe to assume that he is indeed referring to GAO-11-317 cited in my prior post. I also suspect that Watts got this info from one of the denier think tanks such as the Heartland Institute. If we can track down the source paper, so much the better.

2. According to Watts's post. "the total Federal Government funding for climate change from 1993 to 2010 amounts to I  $106.7 Billion" per the GAO report. This number does not appear to be outlandish given that it is for an 18-year period. I have yet to read the full GAO report and I do not know if it provided annual expenditiures from 1993 thru 2010. If it does, we can easily compute expenditures under each Administration, both Dem and Rep. 

2011-06-29 07:00:49
Dana Nuccitelli

Yep good point - $106 billion sounds big, but not so much when you consider it was over 18 years.  No doubt it increased over time, but a breakdown by year/administration would be interesting.

2011-06-29 08:33:20John Mason
John Hartz
John Hartz

The funding figures do not include federal subsidies for fossil fuel extraction.

The four funding categories covered in the GAO report are:

1. Technology

2. Science

3. International assistance

4. Wldlife adaption