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The G.O.P.’s War on Science Gets Worse - The New Yorker


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The Republican Party truly believes in not spending money on earth science research.

Science, Space, and Technology Committee, headed by Texas Republican Lamar Smith, approved a bill that would slash at least three hundred million dollars from NASA’s earth-science budget. “Earth science, of course, includes climate science,” Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, a Texas Democrat who is also on the committee, noted. (Smith said that the White House’s NASA budget request favored the earth sciences “at the expense of the other science divisions and human and robotic space exploration.”) Johnson tried to get the cuts eliminated from the bill, but her proposed amendment was rejected. Defunding NASA’s earth-science program takes willed ignorance one giant leap further. It means that not only will climate studies be ignored; some potentially useful data won’t even be collected.

The vote brought howls of protest from NASA itself and from wider earth-science circles. The agency’s administrator, Charles Bolden, issued a statement saying that the bill “guts our Earth science program and threatens to set back generations worth of progress in better understanding our changing climate.” In an opinion piece for the Washington Post, Marshall Shepherd, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Georgia and the former president of the American Meteorological Association, said that he could not sleep after hearing about the vote. “None of us has a ‘vacation planet’ we can go to for the weekend, so I argue that NASA’s mission to study planet Earth should be a ‘no-brainer,’ ” he wrote.

The vote on the NASA bill came just a week after the same House committee approved major funding cuts to the National Science Foundation’s geosciences program, as well as cuts to Department of Energy programs that support research into new energy sources. As Michael Hiltzik, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, noted, the committee is “living down to our worst expectations.”

It's funny how rightsizing science funding is somehow a political war on science.  What BS.  We already have temperature detecting satellites.  So, we cut what?  Cancer research for children to placate a few non-scientific, politically overactive, environmental extremists? 

I'm still unclear on why we are decreasing ANY federal R&D right now. 

When I look at these charts...

http://www.aaas.org/page/historical-trends-federal-rd

...I see all R&D budgets combined as a rounding error compared to the total federal budget.

How is cutting NASA's earth science budget right sizing?

We talked about this yesterday: any R&D waste is more than made up for by the innovations that result from the total funding:

http://pandawhale.com/post/63228/federal-rampd-spending-cuts-seen-causing-us-innovation-deficit

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