NASA Climate Research Program Cancelled

On May 9, 2018, Science reported that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) had cancelled a $10 million-a-year research program aimed at improving carbon monitoring. The program, known as NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System (CMS), was established in 2010. Since that time, it has provided funding for 65 projects, aimed at measuring carbon stocks and fluxes. According to the report in Science:

“Many of the 65 projects supported by the CMS since 2010 focused on understanding the carbon locked up in forests . . .

The CMS improved other carbon monitoring as well. It supported efforts by the city of Providence to combine multiple data sources into a picture of its greenhouse gas emissions, and identify ways to reduce them. It has tracked the dissolved carbon in the Mississippi River as it flows out into the ocean. And it has paid for researchers . . . to refine their satellite-based observations of methane.”

According to a spokesperson for NASA, existing grants issued through the CMS will be allowed to finish up, but no new research will be funded. This is reportedly due to “budget constraints and higher priorities within the science budget.”


On May 11, 2018, Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) wrote to the Senate Appropriations Committee expressing “deep concern” about the cancellation of NASA’s CMS and urging the committee to restore funding thereto in the FY2019 appropriations bill.

On May 17, 2018, a House spending panel voted to restore funding to the Carbon Monitoring System, allocating $10 million within NASAs earth science budget for a "climate monitoring system". Before the CMS program was axed by the Trump administration, it had been receiving roughly $10 million annually.