The appropriations bill, which a subcommittee approved July 27, specifically prohibits any funding for the IPCC and UNFCCC. President Obama had requested close to $13.5 million for the two organizations in 2011 and again in 2012. Funding for this year was lopped to about $10 million after Congress scrambled to avoid a government shutdown earlier this year.
Funding sent overseas to reduce pollution from heat-trapping gases and to help poorer countries adjust to the impacts of climate change currently represents about 0.04 percent of the total U.S. budget. This year, that amounts to between $750 million and $950 million.
IPCC 'Very Good Deal'
The U.N. Environment Program and the World Meteorological Organization founded the IPCC in 1988. The 2,000-plus scientists and reviewers affiliated with the panel largely donate their time to the cause but receive logistical support from 15 full-time employees at IPPC headquarters in Geneva. Another couple dozen salaried staff members assist the panel’s four working groups.
Last year, the IPCC's operating budget was $5.4 million Swiss francs, which is $6.8 million in today’s dollars. The United States contributed nearly 40 percent of that total, which goes into a trust fund that enables scientists from developing countries to travel for face-to-face collaboration with colleagues.
The panel's latest assessment—a seminal report issued in 2007—concluded for the first time that the Earth is warming and that human activities are very likely to blame. Climate skeptics in Congress continue to question that conclusion. The panel's next report is due in 2013-2014.