Policy test-tubes

Published on April 27th, 2009 | by Timothy B. Hurst

16

Obama Makes Largest Commitment to Science in US History


President commits more than 3% of GDP to research & development

On Monday, President Barack Obama reiterated his administration’s focus on science by promising a new level of commitment—one with the same intensity and urgency as that which put Americans on the moon—and stressing that “the days of science taking a back seat to ideology are over.”

“We have watched as scientific integrity has been undermined and scientific research politicized in an effort to advance predetermined ideological agendas,” said Mr. Obama.

Speaking at the 146th National Academy of Science annual meeting in Washington, D.C., Mr. Obama pledged to raise spending on research and development to more than three percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, an increase of approximately $46 billion annually. “This represents the largest commitment to scientific research and innovation in American history,” said the President.

The federal share of the proposed increase on scientific research and development is in the ballpark of $15 billion  — $15 billion that is no easy sell in today’s tough economic climate.

“We have finally closed the books on the Bush era of climate denial once and for all,” said Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, in a Tuesday statement. “Science is allowed to lead and agencies like the Department of Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency are once again in the business of protecting the public and our planet,” Pope said in advance of President Obama’s 100th day in office on April 30.

>>See also: Bush Administration Just Says No to Science

Much of President Obama’s remarks centered on the role of math and science in developing a new ways to create and save energy, stressing that faith in scientific inquiry should be embraced, not shunned, in the face of difficult challenges like global climate change. “Our future on this planet depends on our willingness to address the challenge posed by carbon pollution,” said Mr. Obama. “And our future as a nation depends upon our willingness to embrace this challenge as an opportunity to lead the world in pursuit of new discovery.”

The President also announced for the first time that the the government would be funding an initiative recommended by the NAS called the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E). ARPA-E is modeled after the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which was created during the Eisenhower administration in response to Sputnik and charged throughout its history with conducting the kind of high-risk, high-reward research that produced the APRANET, the precursor to the internet, stealth technology, and Global Positioning System.

The President said that to rise to the challenge of global climate change, the United States “will not just meet, but we will exceed the level achieved at the height of the space race.”

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Image via Biology Big Brother via flickr under a Creative Commons license





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About the Author

is the founder of ecopolitology and the executive editor at LiveOAK Media, a media network about the politics of energy and the environment, green business, cleantech, and green living. When not reading, writing, thinking or talking about environmental politics with anyone who will listen, Tim spends his time skiing in Colorado's high country, hiking with his dog, and getting dirty in his vegetable garden.



  • http://blog.fromwembleypark.com Lyn

    I pity those who take Obama's pledge seriously. It's not real money. Just like the hundreds of billions of dollars Obama is "committing" to universal health care. It's not real money.

  • http://gswanson@eastlink.ca Gus Swanson

    /Users/gusswanson/Desktop/New green inovation.pages

  • Alan Bibel

    It's President Obama, not Mr.

  • http://redgreenandblue.org Timothy B. Hurst

    Alan Bibel – Actually both are acceptable. And if you've got a beef with that, take it up with the NPR Ombudsman (who I will to defer to):

    http://www.npr.org/ombudsman/2009/01/mr_obama_mor

  • DrKelira

    Isn't he technically Dr. Obama?

  • http://@wildblue.net MICHAEL J. SCHMITZ

    ITS EASY TO SPEND OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY, BUT ASK HIM WHY HE HAS'NT TURNED YOUR ECONOMY AROUND OR DOES'NT AMERICA COUNT? YOU GIVE ME $1 TRILLION AND MY GLOBAL TEAMS AND I WILL DELETE GLOBAL WARMING, BUT EXACTLY WHAT'S OBAMA DOING TO HELP AMERICA? HE GOOD AT RUNNING HIS MOUTH, BUT WHERE'S THE ACTION? ASK PRESIDENT OBAMA WHY HIS FIRST LAW REGISTERED FEBRUARY 4/2009 HIS FIRST LAW STATES THAT HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PALESTINIAN REFUGEES ARE COMING TO AMERICA TO GET FREE FORECLOSED HOMES FREE FOOD AND $20.3 MILLION. OR WHY HIS ISLAMIC TERRORISTS ARE TRAINING IN EACH STATE TO ATTACK FAMILIES OF MILITARY MEN OUTSIDE OF THE BASES.. http://video.google.com/videoplan?docid=864522917… THIS IS VERY REAL, AS OF 4/24/09 ONE WAS BEING FOLLOWED TO WASHINGTON BY THE F.B.I. FOR TRYING TO RECRUIT OTHERS TO JOIN THESE TRAINING CAMPS TO ATTACK AMERICANS. YES PEOPLE YOU HAVE ALOT TO LEARN. NOW HE'S BUYING CONGRESSMEN FOR A TAKE OVER IN OUR GOVERNMENT, SO HE CAN MAKE A LAW TO TAKE AWAY OUR GUNS, SHOTGUNS. BB GUNS, ETC. BUT FIRST FINGERPRINT AND REGISTER EVERYONE SO THEY'LL KNOW WHERE TO GO TO KILL SOME OF US OFF TO INVADE AMERICA. ALSO AMMUNITION. AS HIS MUSLIM BIBLE SAYS CALIPH OF EARTH, NOT AMERICA AND HE WAS BORN IN NIROBI, KENYA AND WENT TO SCHOOL FOR 30 YEARS IN INDONESIA AT WHO'S EXPENSE. AS SENATOR HE WAS BRIBED FOR $3,500,00.00 AND NOW ALL OF YOU WANTED CHANGE. YOUR GETTING HIS CHANGE. HAVE A NICE DAY. MIKE

  • http://redgreenandblue.org Timothy B. Hurst

    I believe he has his JD (Juris Doctorate) but not a PhD, which still makes him Mr., or perhaps, Professor, at one time.

  • http://www.PlanetThoughts.org David – green though

    This is terrific news. I certainly believe this is NOT fake money, as it aligns with President Obama's appointments and prior campaign statements. Why would he put himself out on a limb with false budget requests if it is all a fake?

    As far as what it means: for humanity to return to health on the planet requires ALL our functions as human beings to work together, without one aspect (e.g. faith) supplanting the others. Full function of heart, intellect, faith, and energy is the way to foster a more healthy society and a more healthy planet. I hope this is another step in that direction.

  • http://www.kyle-brady.com Kyle Brady

    I think there's larger implications on this than some people imagine… for the better.

    Like a redefinition of what can be taught as "science" in the public school systems, hopefully eliminating "intelligent design" ideas in the South.

    See more: http://www.kyle-brady.com/2009/04/29/obama-proves

    –Kyle

  • Kim Stephens

    What am I to make of the Press reports today of NASA funding cuts?

    I guess real rocket scientists get nada, but I am sure we will have plenty of PORK called science

  • dwindle

    Excellent if true. Of course, there are already thousands of scientific organizations receiving millions of dollars a year for "research" that never accomplishes anything. Anybody will accept free money, let's make sure they give us something in return. Much of the "bailout" is just prepaid votes for next election, let's hope this isn't the same.

  • Bob

    Funding may go up 3% but so will inflation. All the real R&D $$ goes to black budget. They use taxpayers money to figure out better ways of killing people and making awesome stuff that the public wont see for 100 years. If you like Obama you are just another stupid sheep. He is just another corporate puppet elitist and he knows that.

  • Pingback: Obama's Unprecedented Commitment to Science | ecopolitology

  • http://www.president101.com political opinion

    A good investment. Now all we need to to is not ship all of the technologies and jobs this will create overseas.

  • Jeffers

    Good move. Finally science matters and mythology takes a back seat.

    Oh and its Mr Obama. The President is always Mr, even if its a woman, a doctor, or a knight-of-the-round-table. Go figure. Silly ain't it? They didn't want titles like KING getting in there so they fixed it at mister.

    They will probably modify that rule if there is ever a woman in the big seat.

    Jeef

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