The Manhattan Project employed more than 130,000 people and cost nearly US$2 billion (about $26 billion in 2014 dollars). Over 90% of the cost was for building factories and producing the fissile materials, with less than 10% for development and production of the weapons. Research and production took place at more than 30 sites across the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.
DARPA has around 240 (about 140 technical) directly managing a $3 billion budget. These figures are “on average” since DARPA focuses on short-term (two to four year) projects run by small, purpose-built teams.
Up to 2008, the EU Framework 7 programme includes €1.9 billion on direct climate change research. Framework 6 ran to €769 million. If we take all the Annex 1 countries, the sum expended must be well over $100 billion.
The President’s 2014 Budget proposes over $21.4 billion for climate change activities. This amount is $1.2 billion , or 5 percent, lower than the 2013 enacted level for climate change programs, activities, and related tax policies.
Just three per cent of Americans consider “the environment” the most important problem, according to the latest Gallup poll. (In Britain, too, people appear to be decreasingly worried about climate change). This surely represents, by some margin, the biggest PR fail in history. A large part of the money spent is on public relations and there are constant messages in the media about climate change. There are also movies and tv shows.
Nextbigfuture thinks the spending should go to fight actually proven to be harmful air pollution. This will pay itself with reduced public health and medical costs. Addressing particulate and soot air pollution would also have a faster and cheaper impact on climate than the harder and slower management of carbon dioxide.
This list of US government spending is not for installing solar and wind power except for the energy tax credits that may reduce greenhouse gases.
A 2012 study authored by researchers at the Breakthrough Institute, Brookings Institution, and World Resources Institute estimated that between 2009 and 2014 the federal government will spend $150 billion on clean energy through a combination of direct spending and tax expenditures. Renewable electricity (mainly wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, and tidal energy) will account for the largest share of this expenditure, 32.1%, while spending on liquid biofuels will account for the next largest share, 16.1%.
In 2009, the three largest renewable fuel subsidies were:
Alcohol Credit for Fuel Excise Tax ($11.6 billion)
Renewable Electricity Production Credit ($5.2 billion)
Corn-Based Ethanol ($5.0 billion)
So corn ethanol and the alcohol credit (another ethanol and biofuel credit) were the biggest but were somewhaat deemphasized in 2012.
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Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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