Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Is Obama spending 30 times more on climate change research than weather forecasting?

This neighborhood in southwestern Oklahoma City was heavily damaged by a strong tornado on May 30, 2013.
This neighborhood in southwestern Oklahoma City was heavily damaged by a strong tornado on May 30, 2013.

Is President Barack Obama focusing on climate change to the detriment of today’s (and tomorrow’s) weather? Freshman Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., thinks so.

During a House floor speech on June 11, 2013, Bridenstine said he’s ready to accept Obama’s "apology" for spending too much on climate change research.

"Here’s what we absolutely know," Bridenstine said. "We know that Oklahoma will have tornadoes when the cold jet stream meets the warm gulf air. And we also know that this president spends 30 times as much money on global warming research as he does on weather forecasting and warning. For this gross misallocation, the people of Oklahoma are ready to accept the president’s apology, and I intend to submit legislation to fix this.

We wondered whether Bridenstine is right that Obama spends 30 times as much on global warming research as on weather forecasting and warning.

We discovered two key problems with his calculation. First, he didn’t count all the money that goes to "weather forecasting and warning." Second, he didn’t count all the research on weather he could have; that narrows the ratio as well.

Bridenstine did have a point that spending on climate-change research outpaces weather forecasting expenditures, though, so we rated the claim Mostly False. Read the full report.