Clean Energy and Climate Priorities in President’s FY22 Discretionary Budget Request

Rolling Analysis, FY22 President's Skinny BudgetClean Energy and Climate Priorities in President’s FY22 Discretionary Budget Request

Climate, Energy & Natural Resources,  | Analysis
Apr 9, 2021  | 5 min read | Print Article

President Biden is rightly focused on climate policy as one of his administration’s goals. In his FY22 discretionary budget request released today, the word “climate” appears 146 times in a 58-page document. That’s an average of more than 2.5 mentions per page! The president  is also proposing several related “clean energy” policies. While the devil will be in the details (similar to the president’s recent infrastructure proposal – the American Jobs Plan), if the proposals were enacted and funded at the levels below, federal taxpayers’ investment in climate/clean energy research and development, demonstration facilities, etc. would increase significantly. Overall, the president’s  budget request states that climate change investments would increase by more than $14 billion in FY22 as compared to FY21. Investments are scattered throughout multiple departments and even the US Postal Service. The budget request reiterates the president’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but as history shows, some “clean energy” federal investments have done more harm than good when it comes to reducing climate risks and long-term taxpayer liabilities. The administration should learn from  past mistakes as they request large funding increases for climate, energy, infrastructure, agriculture, and other federal policies and programs.

A summary of selected climate and clean energy provisions in the discretionary budget request include the following:

Electric vehicles

  • “$600 million for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure in the individual budgets of 18 Federal agencies, including dedicated funds at the General Services Administration for other agencies and for United States Postal Service charging infrastructure.”

Clean energy/renewable energy

  • Energy efficiency and clean electricity standard (EECES)
  • “$2 billion to put welders, electricians, and other skilled labor to work building clean energy projects across the Nation”
  • “More than $300 million in new investments in the next generation of agriculture and conservation, including support for private lands conservation, renewable energy grants and loans, and the creation of a Civilian Climate Corps to create a new pathway to good-paying jobs in rural America.”
    • TCS: Details are not yet available, but if grant and loan funding is increased for programs such as the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), the U.S. Department of Agriculture may continue to funnel taxpayer dollars toward wasteful projects such as corn ethanol despite Congressional prohibitions in the farm bill.
  • “$6.5 billion in lending to support additional clean energy, energy storage, and transmission projects in rural communities, including communities of color.”
  • “$10 billion—a more than 35-percent increase over 2021—in clean energy innovation across non-defense agencies… [to] help transform the Nation’s electric, transportation, buildings, and industrial sectors.”
  • “$1 billion to create a new Advanced Research Projects Agency for Climate and invest in the existing Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy”
    • TCS: Please note that several ARPAs already exist and yet more are being proposed
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Climate and disaster

  • “$815 million—a $540 million increase above the 2021 enacted level—to incorporate climate impacts into pre-disaster planning and projects to ensure that the Nation is rebuilding smarter and safer for the future.”
  • “$1.2 billion above the 2021 enacted level to increase the resilience of ecosystems and communities across the Nation to wildfires, flooding, and drought”
  • Additional $100 million for the CDC’s Climate and Health program

Climate research

  • “Over $4 billion to fund a broad portfolio of research across multiple agencies including the Department of the Interior, NASA, the National Science Foundation and others to improve understanding of the changing climate and inform adaptation and resilience measures”
  • “$6.9 billion for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an increase of more than $1.4 billion from the 2021 enacted level… [to] allow NOAA to expand its climate observation and forecasting work…”

Environmental justice

  • “$1.4 billion, including $936 million toward a new Accelerating Environmental and Economic Justice initiative at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)”
  • “$450 million to facilitate climate mitigation, resilience, adaptation, and environmental justice projects in Indian Country, including investment to begin the process of transitioning tribal colleges to renewable energy”

 

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