The US Won't Pay For the World's Best Climate Science

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The most formal manifestation of the scientific consensus on climate change is an organization called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Headquartered in Geneva, under the aegis of the United Nations, it coordinates the volunteer efforts of several thousand scientists, industry experts, nonprofit researchers, and government representatives into reports issued every five to seven years. These reports underpin virtually every climate-based decision on Earth, from the US military’s threat assessments to the Paris climate agreement itself.

So it’s maybe surprising that the IPCC is a shoestring operation, running on just over $4.3 million a year. It gets that money from about 25 different countries, plus a few UN groups. Historically, the biggest chunk of that money comes from the US. Or rather, it used to.

Congress and the Trump administration effectively zeroed out America’s nearly $2 million contribution for 2017, and the 2018 budget explicitly bars the State Department from giving the IPCC money. Congress, remember, has the power of the purse. But the budget starts and ends with Trump: first as a proposal, and finally as a bill he signs into law. Removing the IPCC from the budget doesn’t necessarily put the

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