The future of climate change research under Trump
November 20, 2016 7:59 AM   Subscribe

How fast and hard can Trump shut down climate change research? Can Congress pass a law that says "as of tomorrow, all federal grants touching on climate change are revoked and work must stop?" Can they pass a law which literally forbids climate change research?

I work for a research institute some of whose work relates to climate change, so this is really a jobs question disguised as a political question. I know that the actual logistics of "your grants are revoked and your projects shuttered" would be very complex and almost impossible to implement as written, but this seems like it's going to be a government which rules by fiat, particularly stupid fiat. So what is likely to happen?
posted by Frowner to Science & Nature (3 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Unlikely that revocation of existing grants will occur. But yes, they can pass laws and take actions that limit grants going to funding climate change research.

You may find the the actions that Congress has taken to stop CDC from funding gun violence research as instructive.

posted by Karaage at 8:21 AM on November 20, 2016

There's a decent high-level overview of what parts of the federal government are dealing with climate change-related concerns here from the GAO.

Likely targets for Republicans are the NASA earth science budget or the NSF geosciences budget. House Republicans have been battling with the Obama administration over this for years, often using the tactic not of cutting science funding outright but trying to redirect it to other areas and away from geoscience (and social science, for similar ideological reasons).

I'd be surprised if currently awarded grants are revoked, that would be messy; much more likely is choking off new grant funding for climate research. Same shenanigans happened under George W. Bush.
posted by Wretch729 at 8:22 AM on November 20, 2016

Another place to look for parallels would be the ban on chimpanzees in research, which I believe started as a public declaration from the head of the NIH that they would no longer be funding new grants, in response to a federal government report concluding that they were not effective models for most of the diseases they were used to study.
posted by quaking fajita at 9:00 AM on November 20, 2016

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