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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.

Over the last several years, Congress has passed multi-pronged policy initiatives and provided billions of dollars in funding to spur the deployment of “advanced” nuclear reactors, and a sprawling array of projects are now in progress.

Following a year of negotiation, a partisan spending bill called the Inflation Reduction Act is expected to be signed into law within days, delivering the largest-ever federal response to climate change as well as $2 billion to bolster science facility projects at DOE national labs.

The Department of Energy is ramping up its equity-focused activities by fleshing out the details of its Justice40 initiative, which channels federal investments into disadvantaged communities, and by announcing new funding opportunities for minority-serving institutions.

Following a month of intense activity in Congress, lawmakers have passed bipartisan semiconductor funding and innovation policy measures that have been in the works since the Trump administration. Meanwhile, Democrats also revived the fortunes of a partisan spending bill that includes funding for climate change mitigation as well as a significant boost for some science budgets.

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.

Mechanical engineer Evelyn Wang is on track to be confirmed as director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy, having received bipartisan praise from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

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.