Donald Trump's budget director calls efforts to combat climate change 'waste of money'

Mythili Sampathkumar
EPA head Scott Pruitt advocates for cuts to his own agency's climate change efforts: Getty

President Trump’s proposed budget plan calls for a $100 million cut in funding for climate change programmes.

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said during a press conference: “We’re not spending money on that anymore” because he said federal climate change programmes are a “waste of your [tax] money.”

David Waskow, Director of the International Climate Initiative at Washington DC research group World Resources Institute, told The Independent that investing in combating climate change is “in the US economic and security interests.”

“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,” Mr Waskow explained.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) budget is proposed to be cut by 31 per cent, but the $100 million reduction in spending will target climate change programmes across agencies.

Part of the US’ climate diplomacy work - including the office of the Special Envoy on Climate Change who represents the US in international negotiations and meetings - is done through the State Department, which is also proposed to have a 28 to 29 per cent cut.

Signing a climate agreement with China in November 2015, ahead of the global Paris Agreement on Climate Change, played a part in “easing relations” with the country, Time reports.

Mr Trump has proposed the complete elimination of the Global Climate Change Initiative, the payment mechanism for US contributions to international funds established to help developing countries adapt their infrastructure to a worsening climate.

The overall proposed measures will likely result in 3,200 layoffs in the EPA alone, approximately 20 per cent of the agency.

There is also a program in the Treasury Department that could be cut. The Climate Adaptation Plan seeks to measure the financial and economic impact of climate change on the US.

Coastal regions in Louisiana and Florida are particularly concerned about erosion and wildlife in light of ocean pollution. Some say the country’s first climate refugees were those forced to abandon their homes in parts of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina.

In 2013, allergies and asthma were linked to climate change from high carbon dioxide emissions from cars and manufacturing plants throughout the country.

However Thomas Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance, told Time that the proposed cuts are a “much-needed resetting” to take the “politically motivated” actions to combat climate change which he felt President Obama pushed.

Many Republicans do agree with de-funding some EPA’s work but some have been encouraged by a recent letter signed by 17 members of Congress from New York, Florida, and Pennsylvania signing a “Republican Climate Resolution” on 15 March in support of climate action.

US efforts to bring jobs to impoverished communities and fostering American innovation - both of which funded-climate change programmes could do through green jobs training and renewable energy investment promotion.