NOAA proposes a $7B budget to research climate change

Funding would boost discretionary appropriations up from $1.5B

A person rides a dirt bike on Sheridan Glacier in Cordova on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019. (Photo by Emily Mesner/The Cordova Times)

Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have proposed a budget of $7 billion for fiscal year 2022, up from $1.5 billion in FY 2021, to fund research on what Commerce Secretary Gina M Raimondo is calling a climate crisis.

“Our economic competitiveness relies on our communities’ resilience and our ability to make informed decisions, especially when it comes to climate change and extreme weather,” Raimondo said in announcing the proposed 2022 budget on Friday, May 28.

This historic investment would allow NOAA to deliver on its mission of providing critical weather and climate guidance to support the nation’s economy, infrastructure and security, she said.

NOAA’s proposed budget announcement came as President Joe Biden announced a $6 trillion budget as the nation struggles to recover from the global COVID-19 pandemic, by raising taxes on very wealthy individuals and corporations.

In years when members of Congress can’t come to agreement on the national budget, they opt instead for continuing resolutions, mandating that various agencies simply continue doing what they were doing in the previous year. The new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

The budget increase would accelerate NOAA’s effort to research, adapt to and mitigate climate change impacts, through $855.1 million targeted investments.

NOAA officials note that in 2020 a record 22 weather and climate disasters, including the worst wildfire in California’s history, each caused over $1 billion in damage in the U.S.

The budget increases would include:

  • $149.3 million increase for core research capabilities to improve climate forecast products and services
  • $368.2 million increase to expand NOAA’s delivery of climate observations and information to understand, prepare for and adapt to future conditions and support job creation in frontline and underserved communities who are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts
  • $259.3 million increase in investments in ecological restoration and community resilience, and to meet increasing demand for NOAA’s science and services to enhance natural and economic resilience along ocean and coasts through direct financial support, expertise, robust on-the-ground partnerships and placed-based conservation activities.
  • NOAA will support President Joe Biden’s goal to conserve at least 30 percent of the nation’s land and water by 2030.
  • $20.4 million increase in offshore wind energy, deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind in the U.S. by 2030, while protecting biodiversity and promoting ocean co-use by the Blue Economy to enhance NOAA’s integration of equity across the organization, from management, to policies, to service delivery.

The FY 2022 budget would also boost investments in NOAA’s vessels, aircraft and satellites needed to measure and monitor the environment.

Included would be:

  • $101 million increase in fleet support for at-sea observation platforms and facilities.
  • $2,029 million increase to ensure next generation satellite systems and expand delivery of essential climate, weather, atmospheric and oceanographic information.
  • $5 million increase to build toward a space weather prediction capability to ensure national and global communities are ready to respond to space-weather events.