Tag: climate

Trump slashes US science funding

The US government has cut funding to science as part of its cunning plan to return to a nice biblical view of things.

Donald (Prince of Orange) Trump has decided that there is far too much science which assumes really weird things, like the earth is older than six thousand years, and that everything is going to be wiped out by a giant flood. All of this is impossible according to the Bible, so he does not see why the US is funding it.

Instead Trump’s first budget plan wants to invest piles of cash in the military. The plan, released on 16 March, calls for double-digit cuts for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Institutes of Health. It also lays the foundation for a broad shift in the United States’ research priorities, including a retreat from environmental and climate programmes.

Boffins are worried that the Trump administration’s stance will jeopardise US leadership in fields ranging from climate science to cancer biology. The US has only started to recover from President George Bush’s veto on the use of stem cells which were made for similar reasons. But these cuts are more sweeping.

Jason Rao, director of international affairs at the American Society for Microbiology in Washington DC. The greatest threats to the United States, he says, are those presented by infectious diseases, climate change, and energy production — which cannot be addressed effectively without scientific research.

The Trump budget will cut funding for the NIH by 18 percent , to $25.9 billion, making it one of the hardest-hit research agencies. The document also calls for a reorganisation of the NIH’s 27 institutes — including the elimination of the smallest, the Fogarty International Centre — but offers no further detail beyond a pledge to “rebalance Federal contributions to research funding”.

It appears that the move is based on a paranoia in the Bush camp that the NIH is overstepping its powers.

On the plus side Trump would also create a fund within the Department of Health and Human Services, the NIH’s parent, to respond to public health emergencies such as the spread of the Zika virus.

Scientists and public health experts have called for such a fund for years, but advocates say that starting one while cutting research and prevention programmes is pointless. It is cheaper to prevent a crisis than mop one up afterwards.

But the Environmental Protection Agency is going to lose a third of its $8.2-billion budget and 3,200 its 15,000 staff. The EPA’s Office of Research and Development would see its funding reduced by half, from $483 million to $250 million.

All this is because Trump does not believe in climate and environmental regulations. One biologist, who studies chemicals that affect the endocrine system in fish and potentially people, is part of a programme that Trump wants to eliminate. She said that the reason is that if there’s no science to point out potential problems, there won’t be any more regulations.

The White House wants to cut 5.6 percent, or $1.7 billion, from the Department of Energy (DOE). The plan would eliminate the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, which funds ‘high-risk, high-reward’ research. And it would slash $900 million, or about 20 percent, from the DOE’s Office of Science, which supports research on topics such as high-energy physics, energy, climate change and biology.

The Trump plan does not include an overall funding target for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). But it would eliminate the agency’s long-running, $73-million Sea Grant programme, which supports 33 US colleges and universities that conduct research, education and training about ocean and coastal topics.

Still this is good news for the rest of the world as it will mean that while the US is dumbing down, it can take control of scientific developments without much in the way of competition. The UK did rather well when George Bush dropped the ball on stem cell research so it is likely that European research will do well.

What should be more worrying for Trump is that his moves will give more power to the Chinese and Russian governments who will also have time to catch up.

Cook tells climate deniers to bugger off

It is not often that Apple does something which we think is worthy of praise, so when the fruity cargo cult actually does something impressive we believe it should be encouraged.

At Apple’s annual shareholder meeting, a right wing conservative think-tank, and we use the term “think” loosely, demanded that Apple follow other US companies and continue to destroy the planet.

The National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR), is furious that Apple is turning towards green energy and hired Lisa Jackson, the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, to spearhead sustainability efforts for the iPhone-maker.

NCPPR General Counsel Justin Danhof that his group objects to increased government control over company products and operations, and likewise mandatory environmental standards.

Danhof said that Apple should be fighting against any government efforts which puts the environment over short-term profits.

He called for Apple to stop its environmentally friendly initiatives.

In uncharacteristic terms Cook hit back saying that despite the company’s mounds of cash, it is not in the business of caving into shareholder demands, especially politically motivated ones.

He said that Apple wanted to leave the world better than it found it.

Cook said that any who found the company’s environmental dedication either ideologically or economically ill advised, they can “get out of the stock,” Cook said.

Nice to see some climate-change flat-earthers get exposed as the money grubbing evil bastards that they actually are for once. Ironic that it has to be Apple doing the exposing. 

Norfolk coppers close climate investigation

The Norfolk police force has formally admitted that it is completely befuddled by the curious case of the release of private emails between researchers at the Climatic Research Centre (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich.

According to Nature, the Norfolk Constabulary has closed its investigation into the incident November 2009 which played into the hands of those who are convinced that global warming is a modern myth.

One of the theories of those anti-global warming people is that the leaker was a researcher who was so shocked that the top boffins were making things up that he passed on the emails.

However police have confirmed that the data breach “was the result of a sophisticated and carefully orchestrated attack on the CRU’s data files, carried out remotely via the internet”.

The investigation cleared anyone working at or associated with UEA from involvement in the crime, which rules out any internal whistleblowers.

Julian Gregory, the senior investigating officer, said Operation Cabin carried out some detailed and comprehensive enquiries and was supported by experts in this field.

But it was so complex that there was no realistic prospect of identifying the offender or offenders and launching criminal proceedings within the time constraints imposed by law.

It turned out that the international dimension of investigating the World Wide Web crime from Norfolk proved extremely challenging.

More than 1,000 emails were published during Climategate. After the breach the scientists named and shamed were cleared of doing anything wrong.

Edward Acton, UEA’s vice chancellor, in a statement that was disappointed that the hackers had not been caught. He said that misinformation and conspiracy theories circulating following the publication of the stolen emails, including the theory that the hacker was a disgruntled UEA employee, did real harm to public perceptions about the dangers of climate change.

 

Climate scientist cleared of fudging data

A climate expert who was named and shamed during “Climategate” has been cleared of fudging figures to suit his theory on global warming.

According to Apple’s unpaid press office the New York Times  Michael Mann was investigated by Pennsylvania State University after allegations that he had “seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting or reporting research or other scholarly activities.”

The panel said he had not. It was the second report from Penn State to clear him. An earlier report had exonerated him of related charges that he suppressed or falsified data, destroyed e-mail and misused confidential information.

In fact the only thing the new report criticised him about was that he had occasionally forwarded to colleagues copies of unpublished manuscripts without the explicit permission of their authors.

Private e-mail messages between Mann and other scientists were nicked from a computer at the University of East Anglia, in Britain, and posted on the Internet.

In one email, a British boffin called a data-adjustment procedure Dr. Mann used a “trick.”

The emails were used by climate-change sceptics to accuse mainstream researchers, including Dr. Mann, of deliberately manipulating the findings of climate science in order to strengthen their case that human activity is causing the earth to warm up.

Such groups claimed yesterday that the Penn report was a whitewash.

They pointed out that the panel did not try to vet the accuracy of the science published by Dr. Mann. They just looked at his methods and his willingness to share data with those sceptical of his findings and the like.

The panel’s results mirror two inquiries in Britain which cleared the scientists here who were caught up in Climategate.