|source: turn up the heat on climate denial|
This is why, and how, climate skepticism matters in 2015: The most storied science agency, NASA, of the biggest national carbon emitter, the USA (in per capita/annual and total/cumulative terms), just suffered a slash to its funding. The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology approved 2016 and 2017 NASA budgets that reduce science funding by $323 million.
One of NASA's missions is to understand how our planet works. Chief among this quest is keeping track of climate change. NASA's climate research is part of the agency's Earth science program. In the current fiscal year, this program is funded at $1.773 billion. President Obama requested $1.947 billion for 2016. But the new budget, just approved, is $ 1.450 billion under the 'if-all-goes-well' plan, the so-called aspirational scenario, or $1.199 billion under the 'if-we-need-to-tighten-our-belts' plan, the constrained scenario. Compared to 2015 funding, the aspirational scenario constitutes an 18% cut; compared to Obama's request, it's a 26% cut. The constrained scenario amounts to a 32% cut; compared to the request, it's a 38% cut.
Why is this happening? Because the members of the House Committee believe NASA should deal with outer space, not with mother Earth. As NASA Administrator Bolden rightly understands, this move is intended to gut NASA's Earth science & climate program.
And why the members of the House Science Committee wish to gut this program? Because the Committee Chair Lamar Smith (Republican) is a climate denier. This is the logic of skepticism: since the skeptic would have to change his mind if he were scientifically literate, he uses his power to fight against scientific literacy.