Horse dies, Inhofe continues beating it anyway

I can't believe that the scandal that was known as "climategate" continues to give climate change deniers some kind of special tingle. NOAA's Inspector General issued a report about the scandal at the request of Sen. Inhofe [LINK]. Guess what the report said? Yeah, that's right. And how much money and resources were devoted to putting together this report? Why does Jim Inhofe insist on wasting taxpayer dollars on these flights of fancy?

Read details at Climate Progress.


Response to House continuing resolution cuts

The House Appropriations Committee today introduced a Continuing Resolution (H.R. 1) to fund the federal government for the last seven months of the fiscal year while cutting spending by over $100 billion from the President’s fiscal year 2011 request. This CR legislation represents the largest single discretionary spending reduction in the history of Congress. [source]
I've just been browsing through the summary of the program cuts from this CR proposal, which can be viewed here.  My interpretation is that the middle column is the FY2010 budget item minus the CR budget item, and the right column is the FY2011 request (by the Administration) minus the CR budget item. I'll just consider the right column, and assume that these are generally cuts on top of cuts. Just browsing through the list looking for science research related items:

- Technology Innovation Program: $40 million cut.
- Construction: $66.8 million cut
- Scientific & Technical Research Services: $115 million cut.

-Operations, Research, and Facilities: $450.3 million cut -- THAT's almost half a billion dollars!!

NASA: $578.7 million cut -- over half a billion dollars.

Office of Science and Technology Policy $500,000 cut (wonder what their budget is?)

-Research & Related Activities: $550.9 million cut.
-Major Research Equipment & Facilities Construction:  $110.4 million cut.
-Education & Human Resources: $166.2 million cut.

Energy & Water Development (I assume this is DOE mostly):
Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy: $899.3 million cut. What? Seriously?
Fossil Energy Research & Development (for comparison): $30.6 million cut. I see a pattern.
Clean Coal Technology (for comparison): $18 million cut. Hmm.
Science: $1,110,900,000 cut... yes, OVER A BILLION DOLLARS CUT FROM DOE'S OFFICE OF SCIENCE!
ARPA-E (energy innovation grants): $250 million cut. Do you see what is happening here?
Weapons Activities: $312.4 million cut... maybe it isn't all bad?
Nuclear Nonproliferation: $647.5 million cut... oh, I see.

Science is not the only target. Scanning down though, you'll find a category called "Interior and Environment," which must be mostly Department of Interior and the EPA: it starts midway through page 8 and goes until the top of page 11. These are mostly smaller cuts, focused on USGS, EPA, BLM, NPS, and a handful of other programs. There are some nice highlights though.

  • EPA State and local air quality management: GHG permitting: $25 million cut. It isn't listed as termination, but I'd have to guess this is about all the money they could get for this new program.
  • Fish & Wildlife Service Grants $160.7 million cut.
  • State & Tribal Wildlife Grants: $90 million cut.
  • EPA Great Lakes Initiative: $75 million cut.
  • EPA Clean Water SRF: $1,310,000,000 cut. Yep, 1.3 Billion cut. 
  • EPA Drinking Water SRF: $457 million cut. 
  • EPA Rescission: $290 million cut.
  • EPA Categorical Grants: $220.2 million cut.

There are big cuts also for FEMA, NIH, CDC, Department of Labor, OSHA, Head Start (2 BILLION DOLLARS CUT FROM HEAD START!), a billion dollars cut from Social Security Administration, and even cuts in the defense budget.

What I'd like to see is another column stating the proposed budget by the CR for each item, to put in perspective how big these cuts are compared to the programs. I'm guessing that the are huge for these science programs, but I'd like to see the numbers.

And in the end, these cuts could be devastating for science research in the USA, but they only reduce the deficit from $1.5 Trillion to $1.4 Trillion. I think that we need to reevaluate how the government is spending money, not just in these relatively small discretionary items, but for the whole enchilada.


Fickle conspiracy theorists

Richard Linklater's 1991 film "Slacker" touches on a number of persistent conspiracy theories. Many of them, such as moon landing hoaxes and JFK assassination plots, are still bandied about today, especially on late-night talk shows like Coast to Coast AM. If you watch this clip, you'll see an example, but there's a part about global warming, too. Today the conspiracy nuts think that global warming is the hoax, that  somehow scientists are pulling the wool over the eyes of the public. This clip shows that around 1990, the conspiracy needle was really pointing the other way, with the government covering up global warming. "Greenhouse effect... by the way, they discovered that in the '40s."


Dansgaard Dies

Just saw the LA Times obituary for the Danish paleoclimatologist Willi Dansgaard [LINK]. Dansgaard was a physicist by training, with a specialty in spectroscopy. He figured out the connection between temperature and oxygen isotope ratio in precipitation which became one of the foundations of paleoclimatatology. He also discovered abrupt climate change when he analyzed early ice cores. 

Dansgaard's death comes just after Tamino wrote about glacial cycles in a couple of posts that are worth reading: PART0 PART1 PART1b PART2



WalesOnline.co.uk has the most unremarkable story on climate change that I have every seen [LINK]. The byline says it is by Chris Kelsey, but the end of the article makes it seem to be connected to Kevin Anderson, a professor at University of Manchester. Either way, I wasn't sure what the point of the article was, since it could well have been written in the 1970s, until I read the lame reader comments that follow it. In case you see them, I can assure you that climate models do include the effects of water vapor, and they have since the 1970s. Where do these people come up with this stuff?