President Donald Trump’s administration recently quietly killed an Obama-era NASA program that tracked gases environmentalists believe contribute to man-made climate change.
Science magazine first reported the news last week.
What are the details?
The NASA program, known as the Carbon Monitoring System, measured carbon dioxide and methane gases in the atmosphere and tracked the planet’s flow of carbon, creating high-resolution models for scientists.
Carbon dioxide and methane are two so-called greenhouse gases that scientists believe contribute to global warming.
According to Science, the program cost taxpayers $10 million to operate each year. It was established in 2010.
Why was the program cut?
It's not immediately clear why the administration scrapped the project. According to Science, the move is related to the White House's continued "broad attack on climate science."
Meanwhile, Kelly Sims Gallagher, a professor at Tufts University, told Science the move is related to Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change because the CMS project was helping other countries measure their greenhouse gas emissions. She called the decision to cancel CMS a "grave mistake."
"If you cannot measure emissions reductions, you cannot be confident that countries are adhering to the agreement," she said.
Phil Duffy, president of the Woods Hole Research Center, concurred. He told Science that the CMS project was an "obvious target" for the Trump administration because of how it was used to help other nations understand their emissions output.
However, government spokesperson Steve Cole attributed the project's scrapping to "budget constraints and higher priorities within the science budget." According to Agence France-Presse, Cole explained a budget move by Congress, which didn't include the CMS project, "allowed" the administration to scrap the program.