Trump's 2019 Budget Takes Aim At Environmental, Climate Change, And Astrophysics Research

It could have been worse, but it's still not great. Evan El-Amin/Shutterstock

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will suffer a 12 percent cut, the Verge notes that $13 billion has been allocated to combat America’s devastating opioid crisis, second in seriousness only to its obesity epidemic.

Originally set up for deep cuts, the Department of Energy will actually see its funding levels remain roughly the same as 2017. However, its Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy project, which looks into developing cutting-edge energy programs, will be eliminated, along with several other research programs.

NASA gets a mixed reception in the budget. Its funding receives a very slight 1.3 percent increase from last year’s level.

However, five of its Earth Science missions – all of which are related to climate change – would be completely scrapped. The Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope, a next-generation infrared space observatory designed to investigate dark energy, is also set to be nixed. Nature News notes that astrophysics is cut by 12 percent, Earth Sciences by 6 percent, while planetary exploration jumps up by 22 percent. After 2024, federal funding for the ISS is to cease.

NASA’s Office of Education, which provides grants to museums, science centers, and colleges, would be eliminated. Speaking of education, this budget would also cut funding programs that help low-income students get into college, per The Hill.

Standing in juxtaposition to almost all of this, the military and the infamous border wall get enormous budget allocations and increases.

“Essentially, the budget undercuts the ability of the US to be a leader in many fields of science,” Dr Andrew Rosenberg, the Director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told IFLScience. “Given our historic scientific capacity and talent that is really disheartening.”

“This budget misunderstands the role that science plays in our society and in serving the public interest. It is frankly shameful.”

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This budget will ultimately need to be approved by Congress, and it’s certain that the final product is unlikely to match up to the original proposal, with both Democrats and Republicans opposed for a wide range of both overlapping and contrasting reasons. In fact, if last year is anything to go by, it'll be essentially ignored.

[H/T: Nature, ScienceMag]

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