Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Obama Clean Energy Budget and Republican Opposition

Here is a summary of the green elements in President Obama's $4 trillion budget for 2016 which he sent to Congress on Monday February 2. Republicans are already expressing their opposition to a number of proposals contained in the budget. This includes higher taxes on wealthier Americans and corporations as well as a number of climate oriented mitigation and adaptation initiatives.

Obama's budget asks for a total of $7.4 billion to develop clean energy technology strategies through the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Agriculture, and the National Science Foundation. His budget seeks to provide permanent tax incentives for the solar and wind industries and extend the investment Tax Credit for solar which is due to expire at the end of 2016. It also contains provisions for updating the national energy grid to accommodate more renewable energy.

There is money earmarked for states including an additional $4 billion fund to encourage states to make faster and deeper cuts to power plant emissions than are required by the EPA's clean power plan. The budget seeks to offer state financial incentives to expand clean energy initiatives and cut greenhouse gases.

As the President who made America a fossil fuel leader the budget seeks ways of minimizing associated emissions. This includes funding for carbon capture and storage, alongside research to measure methane emissions that leak from natural gas operations. 

While much of the budget is geared towards mitigation, there are also a range of proposals focused on adaptation. This includes preparations to manage natural disasters, drought, wildfires, and coastal flooding.

The Obama administration also wants to give $1.29 billion to its Global Climate Change Initiative. This includes $500 million for US contributions to the UN’s Green Climate Fund, the first installment of the $3 billion pledged by the US last November.

Unsurprisingly the budget is already being opposed by Republicans, who now control both chambers of Congress.

Obama's budget proposal follows the 11th hour passage of a $1.1 trillion spending plan in January to fund the federal government for the rest of this fiscal year. The omnibus spending bill, aptly nicknamed the cromnibus bill contained a number of anti-environment riders.

Even though Environmental funding is less than 1.5 percent of the overall federal budget, Republicans singled out these programs for cuts. This included spending cuts to EPA's regulatory oversight budget as well as the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). This budget prohibits the enforcement of efficient light bulb regulations, it blocks future efforts to restrict mining waste and efforts to stop funding for coal plants abroad.

A Grist article explained, "All of these measures demonstrate that the GOP’s real agenda is not to save money, but to free polluting industries from the burdens of social responsibility."

Scott Slesinger, legislative director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said, “Republicans don’t want to implement environmental laws or enforce laws that are already on the books.”

Related
GOP Denial and President Obama's Climate Legacy
Cromnibus Bill Foreshadows the GOP's Legislative Agenda
Anti-Environmental Tidings in a Bill to Keep Government Running
Republicans Pass Anti-Science Bill in the House
Republicans Declare War on the Environment
Republican Ignorance and the Latest IPCC Report
Republican Law to Curtail (Environmental) Regulations
Republicans vs Democrats on Climate Change
Republican Climate Deniers are in Control
The Arsenal Republicans will use in their War on Climate
GOP Identifies Targets for their Impending War Against Climate Protections
Climate Denial will Soon be Political Suicide
Republicans Trying to Kill Power Plant Rules
Video - Rep. Peters Calls out GOP Climate Deniers and States it is Time to Act on Climate Change
Republican Opposition to Agenda 21 and a Climate Agreement

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