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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Federal Climate Change Funding from FY2008 to FY2014

Jane A. Leggett Specialist in Energy and Environmental Policy 
Richard K. Lattanzio 
Analyst in Environmental Policy 
Emily Bruner 
Research Associate

Direct federal funding to address global climate change totaled approximately $77 billion from FY2008 through FY2013. The large majority—more than 75%—has funded technology development and deployment, primarily through the Department of Energy (DOE). More than one-third of the identified funding was included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5). The President’s request for FY2014 contains $11.6 billion for federal expenditures on programs. In the request, 23% would be for science, 68% for energy technology development and deployment, 8% for international assistance, and 1% for adapting to climate change. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) also reports that energy tax provisions that may reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions would reduce tax revenues by $9.8 billion.

At least 18 federal agencies administer climate change-related activities, according to OMB. Federal policy on climate change has been built largely from the “bottom up” from a variety of existing programs and mandates, presidential initiatives, and congressionally directed activities; funding has largely reflected departmental missions and support for each activity. Recently, the Obama Administration, in the context of its Climate Action Plan announced in June 2013, outlined an overall strategy with programs, resources, and tax incentives in a cross-agency, intergovernmental initiative. The new Climate Action Plan and a recent OMB report required by Congress on federal funding for climate change activities outline four main components of the strategy:

• Climate and Global Change Research and Education

• Reducing Emissions through Clean Energy Investments and Standards

• International Leadership

• Climate Change Adaptation 

Possible Funding-Related Issues for Congress 

Some Members of Congress have expressed interest in how federal funding may reflect and enable the Obama Administration’s overall strategy, and priorities within it, to address climate change. Legislative issues regarding the federal funding of climate change activities may include the following:

• the sufficiency and alignment of federal resources to support a strategy to achieve long-term climate change policy goals;

• the demands of climate change adaptation programming for federal agencies, their programs, and resources;

• whether additional and predictable foreign aid resources may be provided to support actions by low-income countries to mitigate greenhouse gases or adapt to climate change;

• possible legislative proposals to restructure or improve collaboration among agencies regarding climate change activities;

• the incorporation of recommendations from evaluations (whether internal or external) to improve climate change programs; and

Date of Report: September 13, 2013
Number of Pages: 20
Order Number: R43227
Price: $29.95

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