NASA has been ordered by the GOP to stop researching climate change and to instead turn their focus entirely to space programs. In order to continue to receive federal funding the federal agency will need to stop discussing issues relating to the Earth. Since it’s so unknown on how the new administration will enforce this, NASA has been constantly tweeting and posting out climate change information that it finds urgent.
This new restriction is a bit absurd since NASA has done so much good for the Earth Sciences Division. A lot of their work has covered the topic of climate science, which also includes usage of their weather info gathering operations. This section of NASA receives $2 bill out of the entire $20 billion NASA budget each year.
Representative Lamar Smith, who is also the Chairman for the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, announced that he would like some form of “rebalancing” for NASA’s responsibilities as a federal agency. The GOP would like more of NASA’s funding to be directed towards space exploration and expansion. Smith’s argument is that there is only a single agency focused on this topic and so every dollar should be invested into what the agency was meant to do.
This doesn’t mean that climate change research would be dropped altogether, even though that is a real possibility. Another agency would be appointed under Smith’s plan. However, Republicans have sought out large cuts from climate change research in the federal budget for quite some time.
NASA has not taken too well to this move towards cutting climate change out of their scope of work. They’ve taken to social media to try and inform that public before they get forced to abandon research and efforts in this area. Many people are skeptical that this move will be made just to stop climate change efforts with the new administrations leaning towards it being “just a hoax”. This has worried environmental activists around the globe.
At this time there have been no official changes to NASA, but they are likely to be coming up on the horizon.