It is clear that the White House administration is set on reversing all policies that are focused on combating climate change and that trend is continuing. President Trump has now quietly put an obstacle in the way of monitoring carbon emissions by ending NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System (CMS).
Directly from NASA’s website, “The goal for NASA’s CMS project is to prototype the development of capabilities necessary to support stakeholder needs for Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) of carbon stocks and fluxes.”
In other words, the $10-million-a-year project allows scientist to build of the most comprehensive pictures of how carbon flows around the planet. By monitoring the sources of where carbon emissions are coming from and where they are disappearing, the program is a valuable tool in seeing how nations are cutting greenhouse gasses and identifying where we as a planet need to improve.
NASA is actually one of the world leaders in tracking climate change and without the program, it will be much more difficult to verify whether nations are sticking to the cuts they agreed to under the Paris agreement. In a statement to Science, Tufts University Kelly Sims Gallagher said, “If you cannot measure emissions reductions, you cannot be confident that countries are adhering to the agreement.”
The decision to end the program is not a surprise as Trump has pushed for killing almost every climate protection and earth science budget out there but Congress has been able to step in and keep many in play.
But in this case, because the government funding bill that was signed earlier this year did not mention the CMS, it gave Trump the opportunity to kill it off completely. Currently, all research grants currently in place will be allowed to run their course but as soon as they are done, there will not be any new ones.
Yet because the funding deal signed earlier this year did not explicitly mention the CMS, it gave the administration an opening to kill it off completely. As it currently stands, all research grants currently allocated will run their course, but there will be no new ones.
NASA’s CMS program has been used by countries and cities all over the world to monitor carbon emissions and learn how to curb them. The one bit of news that is a little better is that the European Union already operates a carbon-monitoring satellite and there are plans to send more up. Unfortunately, the US will again be left behind as the rest of the world moves forward.