A July 21, 2010 memo by John Holdren, director of the Office of Science and Technology and Peter Orzag, director of the Office of Management and the Budget, said that $450 billion, or about three percent of the nation’s GDP, would be spent by public and private sources for research and development with a priority on “solar energy, next-generation biofuels, and sustainable green buildings and building retrofit technologies.”
Through a Freedom of Information Act request, Cybercast News Service (CNS) obtained a copy of the memo, which was directed to all executive branch heads of departments and agencies in developing budget priorities. The communication also demands that “understanding, adapting to and mitigating the impacts of global climate change” be a budget priority, as well as insisting that agencies should
prioritize research for measuring, reporting and verifying greenhouse gas emissions. Support, within coordinated interagency investments in the U.S. Global Change Research Program, an integrated and continuing National Climate Assessment of climate change science, impacts, vulnerabilities, and response strategies, including mitigation and adaptation.…
Agencies should pursue transformational solutions to the Nation’s practical challenges, and budget submission should therefore explain how agencies will support long-term, visionary thinkers proposing high-risk, high-return (or "potentially transformative") research.
As Tea Party supporters cast about for an alternative to the flip-flopping Mitt Romney (and his long history of political liberalism), an increasing number are turning their eyes back to a face from the political past: former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
But is Newt Gingrich the new "anti-Romney," or is he simply another Mitt Romney? Despite Gingrich's masterful performance of conservative rhetoric during presidential debates, Tea Party supporters may find Gingrich's record surprisingly liberal and comparable to Romney's record. Conservative opposition to Mitt Romney has focused upon two major issues, Romney's initiation of an individual health care mandate in Massachusetts — which served as the model for Obamacare — and Romney's support for the Wall Street bailouts under the Bush/Obama TARP program.
Gingrich's Support of the Individual Mandate and Federal Health Care
Newt Gingrich has campaigned on a pledge to repeal Obamacare, but he also has a long history of supporting the same government healthcare mandates in Romneycare and Obamacare. In campaign videos, Gingrich insists that “I am completely opposed to the Obamacare mandate on individuals. I fought it for two and a half years at the Center for Health Transformation."
But in a May 15, 2011 interview on NBC's Meet the Press with host David Gregory, Gingrich admitted he has long sought an individual mandate by government:
Two authors of a new study hailed to end the climate change debate once and for all are at odds over what the report actually does prove. Climatologist Judith Curry accuses her colleague and scientific director Richard Muller of another Climategate trick to "hide the decline." Curry and Muller belong to a team of researchers at the University of California known as the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project. While Muller claims their research shows global warming of nearly 1°C since 1950, Curry told The Mail on Sunday, "There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn't stopped. To say that there is detracts from the credibility of the data."
The BEST graph of global temperatures over the past 200 years reveals a pronounced spike in temperatures since the mid-20th century. Ignoring the fact that climate change skeptics mainly question whether humans are responsible for global warming (and not whether warming is occurring), Muller asserted in the Wall Street Journal that the data proves "why you should not be a skeptic, at least not any longer."
But now that other climatologists have had time to analyze BEST's research, a different picture has emerged. Science editor Dr. David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) charted a new graph based on the raw data from BEST. "It is a statistically perfect straight line of zero gradient," announced Whitehouse. "Could it really be the case that Professor Muller has not looked at the data in an appropriate way to see the last ten years clearly?"
Almost eight months after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and devastating tsunami struck Japan, killing or injuring more than 25,000, the death toll from radiation exposure at Japan's storm-ravaged Fukushima Daiiche nuclear power plant stands at zero. Gregory Jaczko, chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, admitted as much on Monday in Washington during a roundtable discussion entitled "Fukushima: Lessons Learned," an event sponsored by Georgetown University and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
When a reporter from CNSNews.com asked him about radiation exposure deaths, Jaczko first jokingly tried to pass the question off to another panel expert but then acknowledged, "There have been no fatalities that we're aware of that are directly related to radiation exposure." He went on to explain that some workers received abnormally high levels of radiation after the disaster both at the plant and through contact with contaminated water, but "nothing that is going to lead to an immediate loss of life."
These results prove what experts have predicted since the quake and tidal wave hit Japan's Pacific coast in March: No one would die from radiation as a result of the incident.
California has enacted the nation’s first cap-and-trade program, designed to provide financial incentives to companies to help curb greenhouse-gas emissions. After an exhausting eight-hour meeting last Thursday with union leaders, industry representatives, and various supporters and opponents of the plan, the California Air Resources Board voted unanimously to implement the first state-administered system that would stick a price tag on carbon emissions and permit the state’s industries to trade carbon credits. The plan is an integral component of the state’s ambitious 2006 global-warming law, signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, which looks to slash emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
The new air regulations will commence in 2013, and then only for the state’s largest carbon emission entities, typically electrical utility companies and large industrial plants; the program will expand in 2015 to include 85 percent of "pollution" emitters. The plan will first institute a cap on emissions, and then allow businesses that are under their carbon limit to sell their excesses to companies that have exceeded their carbon allowance. Businesses will have an initial requirement to pay 10 percent of their credits, and they will be able to purchase carbon offsets, which will comprise emission containment projects such as investments in forestry, to comply with eight percent of their annual emission obligations.
State officials expect other state and federal officials to observe the California model, hoping that similar programs — or, as they would prefer, a national program — will be employed throughout the country. "When Washington considers how to address climate change, as I think it will, California’s climate plan will serve as a role model for the national program," asserted Stanley Young, the board’s spokesman.
Researchers at the University of California claim they have conclusively proven the reality of global warming. The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) study analyzed more than 1.6 billion land temperature records dating back to the 1800s from more than 39,000 temperature stations around the world. Results show warming of nearly 1°C since 1950.
At a news conference in Washington yesterday, a group of U.S. solar panel makers accused China of dumping Chinese-made solar panels on the U.S. market and asked the government for protection by raising tariffs on the offenders. Executives from SolarWorld, which makes its panels in Oregon, were at the conference along with both Oregon Senators.
Said SolarWorld President Gordon Brinser, his company “can compete with anyone in the world [but] illegal subsidies in China [are allowing] the Chinese solar industry to come in and gut and own the U.S. solar industry.” Because the alleged dumping has caused prices to decline, it has put several panel makers into financial difficulty, and was a proximate cause of the disintegration of Solyndra. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) claimed that because of the dumping of panels at below-market prices, “the American solar industry has been collapsing.” Part of the reason is that the Chinese government has been extending low-interest loans to Chinese panel makers, which Wyden called “cheating,” thus allowing them to offer panels for sale below the production costs of U.S. makers.
The group wants the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission to impose a duty on all panels imported from China sufficient to bring the price back up to where the U.S. makers can be competitive, and profitable, again.
Although since the Climategate scandal the science of manmade (anthropogenic) climate change has generally fallen into disrepute, that has not kept some researchers from speculating on the effect of climate change on different species.
According to a UPI report yesterday:
The size of polar bears is diminishing because of the myriad effects brought on by global climate change, researchers from Singapore determined.
A report published by the journal Natural Climate Change finds that lower levels of sea ice have led to smaller sized polar bears.
The authors of the article in Natural Climate Change, Jennifer Sheridan and David Bickford of the National University of Singapore, were quoted by London's Daily Telegraph explaining their findings: "The consequences of shrinkage [of polar ice] are not yet fully understood but could be far-reaching for biodiversity and humans alike.”
However, Fox News reports:
The Obama Administration is conspiring with the scandal-ridden UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to cover up official correspondence and screen it from national transparency laws, according to breaking news from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). Writing for the climate website Watts Up With That?, CEI Senior Fellow Christopher Horner announced his institute has today requested records from Obama's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) that reveal a "backchannel 'cloud' established to hide IPCC deliberations from" Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. He stated a federal inspector general confirmed the correspondence is subject to FOIA.
"This 'cloud' serves as a dead-drop of sorts for discussions by U.S. government employees over the next report being produced by the scandal-plagued IPCC, which is funded with millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars," Horner declared. According to CEI, the plan involves creation of a secret "FOIA-free zone" by setting up non-governmental accounts for official business.
CEI maintains the "cloud" was pre-meditated. In 2009 shortly after taking office, President Obama appointed his controversial science advisor John Holdren as head of the OSTP and put him in charge of dealings with IPCC. At first, OSTP claimed its IPCC information was the property of the UN and therefore not subject to FOIA, but the Department of Commerce ruled it unlawful to withhold information on that basis. Horner reports the "plan to create a FOIA-free zone was then implemented."
The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and ActionAid USA decided to mark World Food Day on Sunday, October 16, by submitting (three days earlier) a formal complaint against Obama's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The organizations blame EPA's ethanol and biofuel programs for driving up global food prices by diverting important grains from food supplies, thereby exacerbating hunger and starvation worldwide.
CEI and ActionAid filed their complaint under the federal Data Quality Act, claiming that EPA glossed over the negative human and economic impacts of its recent biofuel regulations. In fact, the complaint points out that EPA's published analysis of its ethanol mandates does not even mention resulting hunger and starvation. Moreover, the claimants attest the analysis erroneously minimizes the mandates' economic impacts.
For example, EPA predicted a decrease in world food consumption of only 0.04 percent and "a relatively modest increase in annual household food costs associated with the higher prices commanded by corn and soybeans." Yet the complaint cites a peer-reviewed study published earlier this year that found EPA's biofuel mandates have severely aggravated chronic hunger and poverty in poor areas.