President Biden’s proposed budget for fiscal 2023 includes billions of dollars to tackle climate change, the transition to clean energy and environmental justice, in addition to more than $11 billion in foreign assistance to aid developing countries adapt to a warming planet.
The behemoth $5.8 trillion budget request unveiled Monday would be funded by raising taxes on billionaires and corporations and includes more than $18 billion in climate change spending across the federal government.
As an additional way to fund these requests, Mr. Biden wants to slash some $43 billion over the course of a decade in tax incentives for oil and gas companies, including a current tax deduction for drilling costs.
The amount of spending on environmental provisions in the president’s budget underscores the administration’s desire to tackle climate change and to continue working toward the goal of achieving a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.
But Mr. Biden’s budget request is just that — a nonbinding request that Democrats in Congress will use as a roadmap as they craft appropriations bills for the federal government’s fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.
Presidents never receive exactly what they want, and Democrats have razor-thin margins in both chambers that they will have little wiggle-room to keep their own members on board.
Although the billions requested to tackle climate change may appear as a drop in the bucket compared to Mr. Biden’s Build Back Better climate and social spending agenda, which featured roughly $550 billion in climate funding, the administration is focused on retooling many of the same proposals for clean energy, reducing carbon emissions and replenishing environmental funding levels that were slashed under President Trump.
“Budgets are statements of values, and the budget I am releasing today sends a clear message that we value fiscal responsibility, safety and security at home and around the world and the investments needed to continue our equitable growth and build a better America,” Mr. Biden said in a statement.
Mr. Biden’s budget was met with immediate and blunt criticism from Republicans.
Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy Committee, described it as “another pipe dream of liberal activism and climate extremism.”
“President Biden wants to spend more taxpayer dollars on his green energy schemes instead of increasing American energy production to solve the energy crisis he created,” he said in a statement. “This budget is dead on arrival.”
These are among the biggest tranches of money for climate change and environmental issues:
• $48.2 billion for the Department of Energy, an increase of $6.3 billion, or 15.1%, from the 2021 enacted level. This includes $9.2 billion for clean energy research, development and demonstration (an increase of more than 33%); $200 million for a new solar manufacturing accelerator program to increase domestic solar panel production; $1 billion to launch a Global Clean Energy Manufacturing effort that would increase output of clean-energy equipment; and $7.8 billion for the Office of Science to use for, among other things, research on climate change and clean energy solutions.
• $17.5 billion for the Interior Department, which is $2.8 billion more than the 2021 enacted level. This 19% boost includes $3 billion for programs under the Justice40 initiative, which ensures at least 40% of benefits from federal investments are provided to disadvantaged communities like Indian tribes; $4.9 billion for climate adaptation and resilience, which includes $1.8 billion for wildfires; $254 million for clean energy projects on public lands and offshore waters; and $375 million for studying the impacts of climate change and ways to adapt.
• $11.9 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency, an increase of $2.6 billion from the 2021 enacted level. This 28.6% boost includes $1.45 billion for environmental justice.
• Over $11 billion in foreign assistance for international climate change, representing a more than tenfold increase over 2021. This includes $1.6 billion for the United Nations Green Climate Fund to help developing countries prepare for the impacts of climate change and shift to clean energy. There is also a $3.2 billion loan to the Clean Technology Fund for clean energy projects in developing countries.
• $10.5 billion for the National Science Foundation, an increase of $2 billion from the 2021 enacted level. This 24% boost includes $1.6 billion for research and development to understand and prepare for damages from climate change, an increase of more than $500 million.
• $3.3 billion for domestic clean energy projects, including $502 million to weatherize and retrofit low-income homes, $260 million for energy efficiency improvements to government-assisted homes, $150 million to electrify Indian tribal homes and transition tribal post-secondary schools to renewable energy, and $80 million for a new Grid Deployment Office.