The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Elliott Negin,Media Director,

GOP Efforts to Defund Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Is Foolhardy


The Republican Study Committee last week released a list
of proposed budget cuts totaling $2.5 trillion, including a
recommendation to withdraw U.S. funding from the Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change (IPCC). According to the Union of Concerned
Scientists (UCS), the proposal points to a disturbing level of climate
denial in Congress and it is not clear that the Study Committee is
accurately projecting U.S. contributions to the IPCC.

"It's bad enough that some of these policymakers have chosen to put
on blinders when it comes to climate science and protecting Americans
from climate change," said Lexi Shultz, UCS's Climate and Energy
Legislative Director. "Now they're trying to cut funding from a
distinguished panel that sheds light on these issues for the entire
world. The IPCC gives us a lot of bang for our buck and it would be a
mistake to withdraw funding."

The document released by the Republican Study Committee assumes the
United States spends $12.5 million annually on the IPCC. However,
according to the IPCC, its total projected budget
for 2011 is less than $10 million (see Table 9). Since the IPCC's
inception, U.S. funding has fluctuated between about $200,000 and $5.6
million depending on the year (see Table 2). (Note that IPCC figures are
in Swiss francs. One Swiss franc is currently worth about one U.S.

In any case, IPCC funding is money well spent, according to UCS and
it mostly covers logistical costs for putting together reports. The
thousands of scientists from around the world who work on the IPCC
receive no direct compensation for their considerable time and effort
drafting, reviewing and editing IPCC documents. The IPCC itself does not
do original research nor does it prescribe policies. Instead, it
synthesizes available science on climate change to help the public and
policymakers make sense of the evolving science.

"It's sad that members of Congress who refuse to recognize scientific
reality continue to obstruct efforts to reduce global warming emissions
and go after the IPCC. Many U.S. scientists contribute to the IPCC's
efforts and they represent some of our nation's best minds," Shultz
said. "At the very least, the public deserves to know just how serious
the risks of climate change are and not be misled by politicians who
continue to block progress on clean energy."

The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.