With unusual candor, Senate appropriators ‘reject’ cuts to energy research

Jul 25, 2017

By Adrian Cho

Many observers hoped Senate budgetmakers would oppose cuts to the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) basic and applied research programs proposed by the White House in May. But they may not have expected them to be quite so blunt about it. The detailed report that accompanies the Senate version of the so-called energy and water bill, which funds DOE, contains several passages in which Senate appropriators express their objections to cuts in unusually frank language.

For example, in its budget request for fiscal year 2018, which begins 1 October, the White House seeks to eliminate the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), the 8-year-old agency that aims to quickly transform the best ideas from basic research into budding energy technologies. House of Representatives appropriators have voted to go along with that elimination, but Senate appropriators are having none of it. “The Committee definitively rejects this short-sighted proposal,” the report says. Instead, Senate appropriators would increase ARPA-E’s budget by 8% to $330 million. Their report expressly forbids DOE from using money to shut down ARPA-E.

Similarly, within DOE’s Office of Science, the White House has called for cutting spending on biological and environmental research (BER) by 43% to $349 million. But the Senate appropriations committee “rejects the short-sighted reductions proposed in the budget request.” Instead, Senate budgetmakers would boost BER research by 3% to $630 million. Senate appropriators also would give DOE’s applied research in its Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy $1.937 billion, a 7% cut from last year, but far above the $636 million proposed by the White House.

Continue reading by clicking the name of the source below

7 comments on “With unusual candor, Senate appropriators ‘reject’ cuts to energy research

  • @OP – Senate appropriators express their objections to cuts in unusually frank language.

    Committees acting as representative democracy seeking technological and scientific expert advice and rejecting Trumpy fantasies!
    Who would have thunk it?

    I await the reporting of the White House twitter tirade of enraged ignorance!

    Report abuse

  • It looks like the shambolic Republican infighting by people with no idea how to run any sort of proper state comprehensive service, has blocked their destructive activities for the present!


    The latest attempt to repeal the Obama-era healthcare act has failed after a dramatic night in the US Senate.

    At least three Republicans – John McCain, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski – voted against the bill, which needed a simple majority to pass.

    President Donald Trump {ironically} said the three had “let the American people down”.

    The so-called “skinny” repeal, which would have scaled back some of the more controversial provisions, is the third failed attempt to repeal Obamacare.

    It would have resulted in 16 million people losing their health insurance by 2026, with insurance premiums increasing by 20%, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

    The vote was delayed after Senate Republicans kept a procedural vote open before the actual Obamacare vote while they attempted to persuade their members to vote for the repeal.

    Vice President Mike Pence was seen talking to Mr McCain for more than 20 minutes. But Mr McCain then approached a group of Democrats, who appeared happy to see him.

    The bill was eventually voted down by 51 votes to 49 in the Republican-dominated Senate.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, described the result as a “disappointing moment”.

    Democrat Chuck Schumer said his party was relieved that millions of people would retain their healthcare.

    The reality is, for now, there is no minimum level of change on which Senate Republicans can agree. They either have to work with Democrats or resign themselves to stalemate and move on to other topics, like taxes or infrastructure spending.

    It will take some time for the enormity of this late-night Senate drama to sink in. No one really expected Mr McCain to be the decisive vote, but the man who once had a reputation as a Republican “maverick”, now facing a dire brain cancer diagnosis, had at least one more surprise in his pocket.

    The bill – officially known as the Health Care Freedom Act – would have eliminated parts of Obamacare – the Affordable Care Act – including the individual mandate requiring all Americans to have health insurance coverage, as well as a tax on medical devices.

    The stripped down bill came after earlier Senate defeats for proposals to replace Obamacare and then to partially repeal it.

    Sen McCain said he had voted against the skinny repeal because it did not amount to meaningful reform and would not have improved care for Americans.

    There are not thought to be any further plans for a new bill to repeal Obamacare because the skinny repeal was seen as the bare minimum that Republicans could agree on.

    President Trump has said he now plans to “let Obamacare collapse, then deal”.

    Report abuse

  • It looks as if Obamacare remains for the present, but I would remind Americans that that does not mean they have a world leading medical service for most citizens!
    The Republican downgrade of medicare was NOT from high ground in the top ten countries globally! – Despite US prices for the service, being roughly twice that of other OECD countries!


    The research by the Commonwealth Fund, a US think tank, looked at countries across the world, including the US, Canada, Australia, France and Germany.

    The US came bottom.

    The ranking

    1 UK

    2 Australia

    3 Netherlands

    4 = New Zealand

    4 = Norway

    6 = Sweden

    6 = Switzerland

    8 Germany

    9 Canada

    10 France

    11 US

    In the US world leading medical services are only for the very rich!

    Report abuse

  • It looks like there are other countries where they need to tighten up on climate-related supervision of rogue industries and their stooges!


    Potent, climate-warming gases are being emitted into the atmosphere but are not being recorded in official inventories, a BBC investigation has found.

    Air monitors in Switzerland have detected large quantities of one gas coming from a location in Italy.

    However, the Italian submission to the UN records just a tiny amount of the substance being emitted.

    Levels of some emissions from India and China are so uncertain that experts say their records are plus or minus 100%.

    These flaws posed a bigger threat to the Paris climate agreement than US President Donald Trump’s intention to withdraw, researchers told BBC Radio 4’s Counting Carbon programme.

    Among the key provisions of the Paris climate deal, signed by 195 countries in December 2015, is the requirement that every country, rich or poor, has to submit an inventory of its greenhouse-gas emissions every two years.

    Under UN rules, most countries produce “bottom-up” records, based on how many car journeys are made or how much energy is used for heating homes and offices.

    But air-sampling programmes that record actual levels of gases, such as those run by the UK and Switzerland, sometimes reveal errors and omissions.

    In 2011, Swiss scientists first published their data on levels of a gas called HFC-23 coming from a location in northern Italy.

    Between 2008 and 2010, they had recorded samples of the chemical, produced in the refrigeration and air conditioning industries, which is 14,800 times more warming to the atmosphere than CO2.

    Now the scientists, at the Jungfraujoch Swiss air monitoring station, have told the BBC the gas is still going into the atmosphere.

    “Our estimate for this location in Italy is about 60-80 tonnes of this substance being emitted every year.
    Then we can compare this with the Italian emission inventory, and that is quite interesting because the official inventory says below 10 tonnes or in the region of two to three tonnes,” said Dr Stefan Reimann, from the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology.

    “They actually say it is happening, but they don’t think it is happening as much as we see.

    “Just to put it into perspective, this greenhouse gas is thousands of times stronger than CO2.

    The Italian environment agency told the BBC its inventory was correct and complied with UN regulations and it did not accept the Swiss figures.

    Another rare warming gas, carbon tetrachloride, once popular as a refrigerant and a solvent but very damaging to the ozone layer, has been banned in Europe since 2002.

    But Dr Reimann told Counting Carbon: “We still see 10,000-20,000 tonnes coming out of China every year.”

    “That is something that shouldn’t be there.

    “There is actually no Chinese inventory for these gases, as they are banned and industry shouldn’t be releasing them anymore.”

    China’s approach to reporting its overall output of warming gases to the UN is also subject to constant and significant revisions.

    Its last submission ran to about 30 pages – the UK’s, by contrast, runs to several hundred.

    Report abuse

  • Despite Trumpery, some data is still coming from the US government scientists!


    A report compiled by a US government agency has confirmed that 2016 was the warmest year on record and the third year in a row of record global warmth.

    The heat was the result of long-term global warming and a strong El Niño weather phenomenon, the report said.

    Global surface and sea temperatures, sea levels and greenhouse gases levels were all at record highs, it added.

    The report comes after President Donald Trump announced plans for the US to quit the 2015 Paris climate accord.

    The international report, State of the Climate in 2016, was compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and is based on contributions from nearly 500 scientists from more than 60 countries.

    It says that 2016 surpassed 2015 as the warmest year in 137 years of record keeping.

    “Last year’s record heat resulted from the combined influence of long-term global warming and a strong El Niño early in the year,” the report said.

    “The major indicators of climate change continued to reflect trends consistent with a warming planet.”

    During an El Niño, a band of unusually warm ocean water develops in parts of the Pacific. The phenomenon affects the climate globally, disrupting weather patterns.

    The report said that levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide – all the major greenhouse gases that drive global warming – had risen to new heights.

    Global annual average atmospheric CO2 concentration was 402.9 parts per million (ppm) which surpassed 400 ppm for the first time in the modern atmospheric measurement record and in ice core records dating back as far as 800,000 years, the NOAA said.

    “Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing humanity and life on Earth,” it added.

    Report abuse

  • Meanwhile, other adaptations to local climates are going to be required world-wide.


    Climate change has had a significant impact on the timing of river floods across Europe over the past 50 years, according to a new study.

    In some regions, such as southern England, floods are now occurring 15 days earlier than they did half a century ago.

    But the changes aren’t uniform, with rivers around the North Sea seeing floods delayed by around eight days.

    The study has been published in the journal Science.

    Floods caused by rivers impact more people than any other natural hazard, and the estimated global damages run to over a $100bn a year.

    Report abuse

Leave a Reply

View our comment policy.