April 16, 2021
Last week, President Biden released his first Presidential Budget Request (PBR) for Fiscal Year 2022, which asks for big spending boosts for several science agencies. President Biden’s budget mirrors the four priorities declared by his Administration previously – pandemic response, economic recovery, climate change, and equity. Notably to address these issues, Biden’s budget proposes an all of government approach, with large focuses on climate change and transformational research. While we wait for a more detailed budget with programmatic requests for each agency, we will take a look at how this request aligns with AGU’s 2021 policy priorities.
Several science agencies have proposed double digit increases, including EPA (21%), NSF (19%) and Interior (16%). NASA has a proposed 6% increase overall, with NASA’s office of Earth Science seeing a 15% increase and NASA’s Office of STEM Education receiving a 16% boost.
Climate and hazard resilience:
Biden’s budget invests $2.5 billion overall for international climate programs “to help rally the world against this urgent threat, restore U.S. leadership, and catalyze new climate pledges”.
The proposal includes several new Advanced Research Project Agencies (ARPA), including one dedicated to climate work, ARPA-C. $4 billion will be spread across NASA, NSF, and the Department of the Interior to improve understanding of climate change and research adaptation and resiliency.
There are big investments in climate programs, with a $540M increase over FY21 enacted dedicated to incorporating climate impacts into pre-disaster planning and $1.2B above FY21 for climate hazard resiliency. NOAA would see an $800M for climate research and an extra $500M for climate and weather satellites. It is important to note these investments are separate from the climate and infrastructure investments proposed in President Biden’s American Job’s plan.
JEDI in the scientific community:
Biden promises large investments in environmental justice, with $936 million going toward a new Accelerating Environmental and Economic Justice initiative at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The initiative would improve pollution cleanup and air quality monitoring for vulnerable communities. Biden also requests $5 for environmental justice work at the Environmental and Natural Resources division the Justice Department.
Biden’s request also provides an additional $65 million to increase funds to the Rural e-connectivity Program to increase rural broadband.
There are significant proposed investments at the nexus of climate change and human health. A new Office of Climate Change and Health Equity would “that would focus on decreasing effects of climate change on vulnerable populations” and “bolster resilience to health access and healthcare in the face of climate change.” The Center for Disease control budget would include an additional $100 million for the Climate and Health Program and support for efforts to plan for and mitigate impacts of climate change and improve the resilience of [Department of Defense] facilities and operations.” The launch of another new ARPA directive for health (ARPA-H) boasts a novel opportunity to integrate transformational environmental research in the health space.
The President is expected to release the detailed version of his budget request later in the spring, but his budget will be moving through Congress while his American Jobs and expected American Families packages. However, you can still act now. Ask your legislators to sign on to a Dear Colleague to fund NSF and the DOE Office of Science.