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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Energy Crisis; 2008 Budget Cuts Energy Research Funding

posted by on December 19 at 12:30 PM

Energy crisis? The president is on the case!

Technology Has Enabled Us To Make Significant Progress. We need to continue with important research into plug-in and advanced hybrid vehicles, and expand the use of high efficiency clean diesel vehicles and biodiesel fuel. We must continue investing in new methods of producing ethanol and other biofuels. We must further expand the use of clean coal technology, solar and wind energy, and clean, safe nuclear power.

Congressional Democrats are heeding the call to arms! Surely basic science funding will increase, particularly in energy technology. Crisis! Not a time to cave in to a veto threat.

The White House and Congress delivered a heavy blow to the hopes of the U.S. science community yesterday as part of a long-delayed final agreement on the 2008 federal budget. As a result, what began as a year of soaring rhetoric in support of science seems likely to end with agency officials and research advocates shaking their heads and wondering what went wrong.

NIH? “The National Institutes of Health (NIH) would receive a 0.5% increase after high hopes for a slice that would at least keep up with inflation.” (For you, David Wright.)

Ok, but what about the Energy Department? Surely energy research will be properly funded; everyone—the president, the Republicans and Democrats in congress—agrees this is the only way out of the mess.

The bill set the budget at DOE’s Office of Science at $4.055 billion—$342 million short of the requested amount—and the shortfall comes mainly out of two programs: fusion sciences and high-energy physics. Congress realized some savings by allotting nothing for U.S. participation in the international fusion reactor experiment, ITER, which is set to begin construction next year in Cadarache, France (ScienceNOW, 21 November 2006)

DOE’s largest program, Basic Energy Sciences (BES), gets $1.282 billion, $217 million less than requested. That could translate into less beam time at the x-ray sources and other facilities BES runs for research in materials science, structural biology, chemistry, and other areas.

RSS icon Comments


You were expecting responsible science policies and funding from this administration? What have you been smoking?

Posted by Tlazolteotl | December 19, 2007 12:38 PM

Bush is just scared this technology will result in the eventual rise of the human-animal hybrid.

Posted by kid icarus | December 19, 2007 12:39 PM

Just remember this the next time your Congress person brags about the federal money (earmarks) they brought home.

Posted by Mike of Renton | December 19, 2007 1:02 PM

@2 they are already here
Crab-People, Crab-People
Look like Crab talk like people

Posted by vooodooo84 | December 19, 2007 1:03 PM

Silly scientist, don't you know that Jesus is going to fix all this mess and Jesus doesn't need money for your silly little "research."

Posted by maxine | December 19, 2007 1:20 PM

More funding does not necessarily mean better science, especially in the DOE. ITER is a colossal waste of money. The DOE budget has been bloated for decades; maybe this a correction now that Pete Dominici is in the minority party.

Posted by CG | December 19, 2007 1:53 PM

Come on! We have abstinence education programs to fund here, you whiners. Priorities!

Posted by tsm | December 19, 2007 2:03 PM

CG --

Now that's a good point; the DOE hasn't exactly spent the money wisely over the years. Do you think the DOE would work better if the money was funneled through an NIH-like funding mechanism?

At least there is a modest increase in science education funding through the NSF.

Posted by Jonathan Golob | December 19, 2007 2:06 PM

They just don't want to waste money on this research, what with the Rapture coming up and all.

Posted by Greg | December 19, 2007 3:01 PM

Inflation is about 4 percent.

Inflation in scientific research materials is about 8 to 10 percent.

The "increase" was about 0.5 percent.

Talk about stupid. This is what happened to the NIH, NIIT, NIA, and DOE while only the DOD got more funding ... good thing we do post-traumatic stress disorder research too (DOD) ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 19, 2007 3:04 PM

Cool, I've got my name up in lights! Well, at least up in a slog article.

Since I really am more interested in communicating true facts than in selling a political adjenda, I'm happy to grant that a 0.5% budget increase is less than inflation, and therefore consititues a decrease in real terms.

Posted by David Wright | December 19, 2007 4:27 PM

Hell - My Social Security payment went up by 2% - I didn't even get a match for inflation... Jeeze, a whole extra $15 a month. But hey, that'll cover the taxes on my phone ~!

Posted by Colton | December 19, 2007 8:30 PM

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