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5 September 2017

Reflections on Voyager’s 40th Anniversary and the Future of Space Exploration

By Christina Cohen, Ph.D., AGU Council Member, AGU Space Physics and Aeronomy Section President-elect, and Member of the Professional Staff at the California Institute of Technology On the 40th anniversary of the Voyager mission it is impossible not to marvel at how far a human-built machine (with less computing power than the typical smart phone) has traveled. Voyager is the quintessential explorer, going into unknown realms and dutifully transmitting its …

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25 August 2017

Looking to the Past and Looking to the Future: Thoughts on Science and Women’s Equality Day

On 21 August, 2017, a solar eclipse swept across North America. Many AGU members were observing this wonder of our universe using everything from cutting-edge instruments to cardboard glasses ordered online. How different the faces studying the geophysics are now than they were in 1878 when Maria Mitchell of Vassar College was explicitly not invited to join the government supported expedition observing an eclipse. Refusing to miss the chance of …

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2 August 2017

FY2018 Spending Bill Passes House, Delivering Steep Cuts to the Department of Energy

President Trump campaigned as a proponent of technological innovation and development. Yet his proposed fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget slashes funding for research programs at the Department of Energy (DOE). Congress isn’t bound to follow the President’s proposed budget, but last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the FY2018 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, in which they reduced the overall DOE budget by 9.5% below FY2017 levels and eliminated …

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12 July 2017

Stand Up for Earth and Space Science: Meet with Your Legislator During August Recess

“We need to tell that story,” said my Senator, after I told him how NOAA’s Sea Grant Program budget is only $73 million/yr, even though it helps hundreds of communities to prepare for hurricanes and storm surges and manage coastlines1. I suspected that he would be a strong supporter of science, but I didn’t realize how appreciative he would be to have a clear narrative that he could share with …

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10 July 2017

An Overview of The Federal Budget Process and Congressional Recess Visits

The congressional appropriations processes for FY 18   – in which both the House of Representatives and the Senate decide how to allocate funds among all federal agencies, is beginning in earnest.  Your voice and participation advancing the value of science is needed more than ever.  There is no better time to do this than in August when your members of Congress will be back home during the “congressional recess.”  You …

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1 June 2017

AGU Responds to Trump Administration’s Decision Regarding the Paris Climate Agreement

Earlier today, the Trump administration announced plans for the U.S. to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Eric Davidson, Robin Bell, and I published a related article in Eos as a response to President Trump’s decision. You can read that article here. AGU also issued the following media statement in which I said the following: When signed in December 2015, the Paris Agreement marked a historic moment. Representatives of 195 nations came …

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9 May 2017

Science Fares ‘OK’ in FY17 Omnibus; FY18 Remains Uncertain

As you may have heard, Congress recently passed a bipartisan omnibus spending bill (H.R. 244) to fund the federal government for the remainder of fiscal year 2017, which ends on 30 September 2017. Overall the bill provides relatively flat funding for the NSF, roughly two percent increases for NASA and USGS, and a nearly two percent decrease in funding for NOAA. Some programs saw more extensive increases, for example, NASA’s …

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16 March 2017

White House Budget’s Proposed Cuts Jeopardize American Public Health, Safety, and Security

UPDATE: The numbers included below are in comparison to current funding levels, which are those that were passed in the most recent omnibus spending bill. The White House recently released its budget proposing the following cuts: 31% cut to EPA’s budget including a 20% reduction of EPA staff Up to a 15% cut to USGS 2% reduction to DOE’s budget including the elimination of the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy …

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10 March 2017

AGU Responds to Statements from EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on Climate Change

Yesterday, Scott Pruitt, the newly installed head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), made a statement regarding climate change in answer to a question posed to him on a CNBC program. “I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the …

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6 March 2017

Proposed Agency Cuts Threaten Critical Lines of Defense for Public Safety, Economy and Security 

Last week, advance details of the White House’s proposed cuts to NOAA and the EPA were published by the Washington Post. NOAA’s overall budget is proposed to be cut by a total of 17%, with some programs slated to be cut more deeply or eliminated altogether. The White House proposal would cut the EPA budget by 25%, where 20% of staff would also be cut. These numbers are preliminary – …

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