There is a belief amongst many Conservatives and global warming deniers that global warming is a racket for egghead scientists and they’re raking in the dough. If it isn’t some starchy private university that’s pouring cash into global warming research, then it’s “big government” pushing the global warming agenda to punish mom and pop shops throughout the country (spoiler: they’re not); but does anyone have solid numbers on just how much money there is to be made in the Climate Research “racket?”
Recently Ars Technica asked the same question and the results aren’t exactly rosy for would-be climatologists who expect profuse compensation. In fact most arguments pointing to some sort of conspiracy to line the pockets of scientist with money are flat out wrong.
In 2007, John Coleman, The Weather Channel’s founder and meteorologist, posted his now infamous screed, bashing climatologist for conspiring to push a consensus on global warming. “[Scientists’] friends in government steered huge research grants their way…. Soon they claimed to be a consensus.”
Upon further investigation however, there isn’t much grant money for studying or researching climate. According to Ars, government grant money peaked for climate research in 1995 at $2.4 billion and has been getting cut ever since. Worse yet, this money is then split amongst 13 other research agencies – including NASA which accounts for the large majority of the funds.
To put it in prospective, grants issued for medical research sits comfortably above $30 billion annually not including grants from the private sector. In other words, there’s just not much money to be made studying climate change.
So maybe the money is in convincing people that global warming is a threat. Green companies must be tripping over themselves trying to recruit the best and brightest folks with knowledge of global warming. Wrong.
Again, the myth is shattered by Ars; in convincing the public there’s a need for green technology and research, climatologists are essentially putting themselves out of business. After all, just because an architect drew the plans doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be the one with the hammer.
So if you’re all tl,dr; here’s the short version: climate scientists’ best option would be to become a professor and even then the average salary is around $80K annually. Their ability to analyze complex data and spot trends would probably serve them best on Wall St.
Source: Ars Technica