US President Barak Obama announced his 2016 fiscal budget on Monday (Feb. 2), with an emphasis on climate change. Total spending in the budget amounts to about $4 trillion. RTCC and Reuters report that the budget proposes $7.4 billion to fund clean energy technologies and $4 billion to encourage US states to make faster and deeper cuts to emissions from power plants. It also calls for the permanent extension of a production tax credit, which primarily benefits the wind industry, and the investment tax credit, which supports solar energy.
Obama proposes an increase in funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from $8.1 to $8.6 billion, and for the Energy Department from $27.3 to $29.9 billion. The budget calls for the EPA to receive $239 million for its climate program, with an additional $25 million to help states comply with the power plant rule. The proposed power plant rule is a cornerstone of Obama’s climate agenda, aiming to cut electricity emissions 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. About $100 million of the Energy Department’s funding would go toward solar and wind projects on federal lands and in federal waters, with a goal of reaching 20 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2020.
Regarding climate change adaptation, a proposed $400 million for the National Flood Insurance Program will help communities assess flood risks, and $89 million will be used to combat drought.
The 2016 budget also proposes $1.29 billion in spending on international climate programs, including $500 million for the UN’s Green Climate Fund, which will help poor countries reduce their emissions and prepare for climate change, as the first installment of the $3 billion that the US pledged to the fund last year.
(Image: President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, Jan. 5, 2015. Photo credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza/Flickr)