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Climate Change

As climate change grows in importance as a societal and environmental issue affecting the nation and the world, FYI is committed to covering climate research policy and funding. FYI tracks policy developments that have implications for the conduct of climate science and congressional oversight of federally funded climate science.

Congress followed the Biden administration's lead in delivering a moderate budget increase to the Department of Energy's Office of Science in the current fiscal year, but some lawmakers believe the office needs much more money than is being asked for to advance facilities projects and core research programs.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s budget is increasing by about $450 million in fiscal year 2022, and the Biden administration is seeking a further $1 billion boost for the coming fiscal year. Top priorities include expanding the agency's climate information services and accelerating work on next-generation weather observation systems.

At a recent White House summit, fusion experts discussed ways to accelerate the development of commercial fusion energy and embed justice considerations into the foundations of the nascent industry.

Congress increased the National Science Foundation’s budget by 4% to $8.8 billion for fiscal year 2022, undershooting the ambitious targets proposed by the Biden administration and pending landmark legislation. The administration is now again seeking to surge NSF’s budget past $10 billion to build out its newest directorate and to expand climate change research and STEM workforce diversity initiatives.

NASA has chosen Earth scientist Kate Calvin to serve in the dual roles of chief scientist and senior climate advisor, bringing new visibility to the agency’s efforts to monitor and mitigate climate change.

The Department of Energy has launched an Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations to support a burgeoning portfolio of large-scale technology projects funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The office will be under pressure to overcome challenges that have plagued DOE-funded demonstration projects in the past.

The Department of Energy is working to spur clean energy technology development through its "Energy Earthshots" initiatives, leveraging both its basic and applied science programs and the billions of dollars Congress has provided for demonstration projects.

The special infrastructure spending legislation just approved by Congress includes around $25 billion for energy technology demonstration projects, as well as targeted budget increases for R&D programs at the Department of Energy and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Climate change, the pandemic, and emerging technology governance were major themes of President Biden’s first address to the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 21. Meanwhile, a series of high-level meetings have set the stage for more intense technology cooperation between the U.S. and partner nations.

Over four months, the Biden administration has built up climate policymaking capacity across federal agencies to advance agendas centered on climate change mitigation and resilience, environmental justice, and clean energy job creation.