Trump cuts funding to NASA system that monitors greenhouse gases
May 12, 2018

US President Donald Trump’s administration has cut off the funding for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Carbon Monitoring System (CMS). The move comes at a time when the world is struggling to combat climate change.

According to Science Magazine, the United States has repeatedly proposed cuts to NASA's earth science budget, including NASA's Carbon Monitoring System (CMS).

Key Highlights

• The NASA system monitors the flow of greenhouse gases.
• The system had till now used satellite and aircraft instruments to monitor carbon dioxide and methane levels remotely, spending $10m each year.
• However, it had been an obvious target considering Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the landmark 2015 Paris agreement to fight climate change.
• The Paris agreement was signed by nearly 200 countries in December 2015 to curb global carbon emissions and contain global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.

Criticism

• Many scientists have come forward to call the move of cancelling funding to the CMS a huge mistake.
• Scientists also expressed their concerns about the impact of the killing of CMS on the fight against climate change.
• Many feel that the scrapping of funding would US less capable of tracking changes in carbon.

Objectives of Carbon Monitoring System

• To use full range of NASA satellite observations, modeling capabilities and commercial off-the-shelf technologies to establish the accuracy, quantitative uncertainties and utility of products for supporting national and international policy, regulatory and management activities.
• To prototype the development of carbon monitoring reporting and verification [MRV] systems that can provide transparent data products achieving levels of precision and accuracy required by current carbon trading protocols.
• To harness unique capabilities of NASA centers and the NASA-funded investigator community, making use of competitive peer review wherever possible.
• To rapidly initiate generation and distribution of products, both for evaluation and to inform near-term policy development and planning.
• To engage with and contribute to the related US and international stakeholders and agencies.