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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Funding for Federal Climate Change Activities, FY2008 to FY2012

Jane A. Leggett
Specialist in Environmental and Energy Policy

In response to your request, this memorandum compiles information on federal funding from FY2008 through FY2012 for climate change activities of various departments and agencies, as presented by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and by the individual departments and agencies where noted. CRS deferred to these OMB and department and agency sources, as comparable comprehensive information on funding allocated for climate change activities across departments and agencies is not broken out in all cases for each relevant program or activity in annual appropriations bills and the accompanying committee reports.

Some of the OMB or agency sources are incomplete or may report inconsistent data, as explained below. As such, the amounts in the following tables likely represent an underestimate of federal funding for the period, perhaps on the order of tens of millions of dollars (i.e., not billions). Information is not available for all programs for all years, as explained below.

In sum, OMB and agencies have identified approximately $70 billion available to federal agencies from FY2008 through FY2012 for climate change activities. The large majority – about 80% -- has funded technology development and deployment, mostly through the Department of Energy (DOE). More than one third of the identified funding was enacted in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5). Tables in the memorandum detail funding by agency in terms of budget authority. 1 Funding information is provided for each of the four major federal initiatives to address climate change:
  1. the Global Change Research Program;
  2. the Climate Change Technology Program; 
  3. the Global Climate Change Initiative; and 
  4. Adaptation. 

A final table provides the sums by agencies across all four initiatives.

CRS has been unable to find complete data on climate change budget authority, particular for FY2012, and also for recent years of the Climate Change Technology Program. Hence, the data compiled in the following tables likely represent the minimum of budget authority for these programs.

Additional caveats regarding the data presented here include:

  • Minor inconsistencies sometimes exist in alternative reports on funding, perhaps due to rescissions or reprogramming, or because a program may sometimes be cast as climate change-related and not in other contexts.
  • These initiatives are “roll-ups” of programs and funding in each agency, and information on some programs are available only to the degree that the agency has reported funding to OMB or Congress.
  • Some activities, particularly to consider or address potential impacts of climate change on federal programs or assets, likely existed prior to their being identified as climate change related, so that funding may have occurred prior to being listed in these tables or in addition to activities listed in these tables.

Other caveats about comparing or examining possible trends in funding are described in more detail in CRS Report RL33817, Climate Change: Federal Program Funding and Tax Incentives. That report contains older information on general objectives and activities of the climate change initiatives.

Date of Report: April 26, 2012
Number of Pages: 7
Order Number: M-042612-B

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