Trump To Defund Fossil Fuel And Clean Energy Research For No Apparent Reason


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer

We're sure there's a perfectly ludicrous explanation for this. katz/Shutterstock

Congress, for all its failings, recently defied the President’s wishes to cut federal science funding – in fact, for almost all departments and agencies, they gave it a boost. But Trump’s 2018 budget is still waiting in the wings, and it appears that he’s doubling-down on his anti-science crusade.

As reported by Axios, Trump plans to cut the funding to the Department of Energy’s (DoE) renewable energy office by 70 percent. This means instead of the $762 million it got in the recent 2017 budget, it’ll get a measly $160 million. So far, so Trump – but there’s more.


There’s also to be a 31 percent cut to the DoE’s nuclear energy office, and a 54 percent cut to its fossil fuel office. Wait, what?

What’s he trying to achieve here – an energy-less America? Are we going back to the good old days of igniting whale blubber, or throwing logs on a fire? Is he going to get a trillion hamsters running on a trillion treadmills? What in the fresh hell is going on?

It’s demonstrably clear that Trump is no more scientifically literate than a cauliflower, and he will likely never understand that investing in renewable energy is one of the best ways to prevent a future filled with climate change nightmares. The last time we checked, he thought wind was “very deceitful.”

Still, the cuts to the fossil fuel research department here are particularly baffling. What happened to wanting to revive the (flagging and doomed) coal industry? What happened to restarting oil drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic?


The DoE’s primary job is to maintain the safety of America’s nuclear stockpile, but it does have departments that look into advanced research for energy production. If these departments were defunded, it would slow America’s progress on cutting its carbon footprint, and it would hamper the country’s ability to update its electrical grid and ultimately become “energy independent.”

Congress showed surprising defiance this year when it came to cutting the sciences, so it’s very unlikely that these cuts won’t get enough support to make it into the 2018 budget either.


In any case, there is literally no need to make any of these cuts. The 2017 renewable energy research fund, by the way, is a tenth of 1 percent of the 2017 defense budget. It’s a tiny drop in the ocean, and if anything, its funding should be dramatically increased.

But no. Trump doesn’t need energy research. What’s next – is he going to cut funding into health research because he himself apparently doesn’t need to exercise?


Oh wait, he does want to cut the budget to the National Institutes of Health – by 24 percent. And that would eliminate 90,000 medical jobs too?

Well, good luck with that one, America.


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