Memammal

Trump, NASA & Climate Science

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CharonY    1620

That seems to be in line with the gag order against the EPA and USDA. So yeah, we are now going to solve problems by ignoring them.

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imatfaal    2478

One dubious executive decision, one giant backward leap for climate science: Trump to scrap Nasa climate research in crackdown on ‘politicized science’

 

Just to check - has a decision on this actually been made? That article was from November. Trump is doing lots of pretty scary stuff already - has he actually made any movement on this?

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CharonY    1620

I think you are right, there has not been an executive decision on NASA yet. So far only the other moves that are still somewhat vague (but puts the researches a bit in a limbo).

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Memammal    62

Correct, not yet...I was referring to what has now become a very real possibility for him to enforce such a decision.

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KipIngram    131
Posted (edited)

I always questioned whether NASA was the right place for that work, but it ought to be happening in *some* agency. Re: NASA I'd prefer to see them focused on space exploration. The EPA always seemed like a better fit for climate work to me. I certainly understand the usefulness of satellite-based methods for measuring and monitoring stuff, but the actual ownership of the program could still be housed somewhere else.

 

Back earlier in the year I heard some NASA official make a comment to that effect (i.e., that Trump didn't regard NASA as the right place for that work). But I'd be hugely surprised if he does anything other than just quash it.

 

I do think politicized science is a problem - when the answer you get to a scientific question depends on the political leaning of the administration, there's a problem.

Edited by KipIngram
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Phi for All    4811

I always questioned whether NASA was the right place for that work, but it ought to be happening in *some* agency. Re: NASA I'd prefer to see them focused on space exploration. The EPA always seemed like a better fit for climate work to me. I certainly understand the usefulness of satellite-based methods for measuring and monitoring stuff, but the actual ownership of the program could still be housed somewhere else.

 

Good friend of mine who works for the EPA tells me they're funded through September, and after that they're expecting the usual Republican abdication of environmental responsibility for an agency they believe robs them of profit.

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KipIngram    131

 

Good friend of mine who works for the EPA tells me they're funded through September, and after that they're expecting the usual Republican abdication of environmental responsibility for an agency they believe robs them of profit.

 

Yes, that is exactly what I'd expected. I really do wish we had a "centrist" part of some kind. I don't consider myself "aligned" with either party these days. The Democrats are too "pro big government," and the Republicans are too "pro big business." I'm really a fan of free enterprise, but "unsupervised" it winds up concentrating too much power in the hands of a small number of big corporations. "The folk" wind up out in the cold.

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Phi for All    4811

 

Yes, that is exactly what I'd expected. I really do wish we had a "centrist" part of some kind. I don't consider myself "aligned" with either party these days. The Democrats are too "pro big government," and the Republicans are too "pro big business." I'm really a fan of free enterprise, but "unsupervised" it winds up concentrating too much power in the hands of a small number of big corporations. "The folk" wind up out in the cold.

 

Nobody I've quizzed can explain to me what "big government" really means to them. It's this sketchy demon that they're afraid of without knowing exactly why. It's bad, that's all they know.

 

The definition of big government I use is what the Republicans seem to want, an invasive body that sticks it's nose in my personal choices of lifestyle, and demands intervention in my wife's bodily choices. The Republican leadership (ha!) is the worst judgemental, uncaring, intellectually barren group of politicians I've ever seen. They regularly bounce between raping the Constitution and brandishing copies of it. They want no barriers to free trade except those they impose to benefit friends and funders. They have done more to grow the worst parts of government than any group before them. Their big government helps them clamp onto the public tit tighter, so they can make sure all the advantages are theirs.

 

Is it making the government too big to ask that we stop marginalizing these agencies that improve lives nationwide, instead of cutting their funding to use for something that only benefits the wealthy?

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KipIngram    131

I'm totally with you on those bits of "Republican criticism." They've always tendency to want to impose morality on us and things like that - things that are just not the government's business.

 

I think if agencies have been created for specific purposes then they should be managed in a way that most effectively achieves those purposes. Even if a politician thinks there's a better way to get that job done he or she should still support "the way that's in place," even while pushing for an overall change. Trying to "force failure" so that you can then point and say "See, that was flawed from the start" is dirty pool. But then again an awful lot about politics is dirty pool from the get-go. Very little "honor" in that game.

 

I honestly do think, though, that some of these agencies get carried away with themselves and get into "empire building" mode. Anything, even good things, can be overdone, and I think that shows up in a lot of agencies (EPA and DEA spring to mind). I'm working right now and don't have time to dig up examples, but I hope you know what I mean. If you truly believe that every single thing the EPA has ever done is grand and glorious, and that they've never been too heavy handed, then do feel free to tell me I'm wrong. I'm just taking the position that even though these agencies fulfill a valuable purpose in general, they do make mistakes sometimes too.

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Phi for All    4811

I honestly do think, though, that some of these agencies get carried away with themselves and get into "empire building" mode. Anything, even good things, can be overdone, and I think that shows up in a lot of agencies (EPA and DEA spring to mind). I'm working right now and don't have time to dig up examples, but I hope you know what I mean. If you truly believe that every single thing the EPA has ever done is grand and glorious, and that they've never been too heavy handed, then do feel free to tell me I'm wrong. I'm just taking the position that even though these agencies fulfill a valuable purpose in general, they do make mistakes sometimes too.

 

If you could actually point to some of the instances of the beneficial agencies (come on, DEA is a Republican wet dream, it's always fully funded under the GOP administrations) "get[ting] carried away with themselves" or "empire building", I would be eternally grateful. When I've asked this in the past of others, it turns out it was just a bit of spin they heard from Republican sources. It's a common complaint because it seems plausible, and a common fear because it's happened with other systems, but I haven't heard any actual evidence to support a claim that the EPA, OSHA, NASA, CFPB, CDC, or FDA regularly overstep their bounds when the Democrats are in charge.

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KipIngram    131

Ok, I will see if I can turn up something of the sort I'm talking about. Give me a little while - I'm at work right now. The sort of thing that I'm talking about takes the general form of "little people" (like a small farmer or something) suddenly being told they can't use their land the way they've been using it for decades, or generations, because of some regulation. But I'll see if I can find something definitive.

 

And btw, I don't think it's required for an agency to make *zero* mistakes - we should always be trying for that, but perfection is pretty rare in the world.

 

And yeah, I'm right there with you on the DEA. The "war on drugs" is one of the most misguided things we've ever done, and the DEA regularly (like, every few days) uses its "emergency authority" to add new things to the list of controlled substances. Empire building at its finest.

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Phi for All    4811

Ok, I will see if I can turn up something of the sort I'm talking about. Give me a little while - I'm at work right now. The sort of thing that I'm talking about takes the general form of "little people" (like a small farmer or something) suddenly being told they can't use their land the way they've been using it for decades, or generations, because of some regulation. But I'll see if I can find something definitive.

 

Watch out for the fakes. Once I almost donated to the Wetlands Defense Fund, until I found out it was a group of farmers and ranchers who wanted to defend their right to do whatever they felt like doing to the wetlands on their property. I see this as akin to destroying the rainforests by defending Brazil's right to commerce. Some things are just bigger than an area, or a state or country.

 

 

 

 

I'm also curious how Trump supporters view this latest move. To me, the Trump just gave up the catbird seat at the head of the negotiations table when it comes to climate and energy production for the next 50 years. Even "clean coal" wanted him to stay in the accord, because they know it's better to have a voice than not. It's becoming more obvious to me every day that Trump's business has survived mostly on momentum and size, and not on any skill on his part. He is convinced he's the world's best negotiator, but I think it's a Dunning-Kruger worthy self-assessment.

 

His Carrier deal was ludicrous, he botched the Israeli situation by screwing up the message between himself and our ambassador, he's let his short-fuse temper send sincere partnerships down the toilet (*cough* hung up on Australian PM *cough*), he claimed to back the AHCA "100%" before it was even written (which he claimed on the campaign trail had already been written), and it's clear that he doesn't even do the basic research every negotiator does pro forma. The man doesn't read, but he thinks he can read people.

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KipIngram    131

 

Watch out for the fakes. Once I almost donated to the Wetlands Defense Fund, until I found out it was a group of farmers and ranchers who wanted to defend their right to do whatever they felt like doing to the wetlands on their property. I see this as akin to destroying the rainforests by defending Brazil's right to commerce. Some things are just bigger than an area, or a state or country.

 

:) Well, I will try. There's a lot of fakery on both sides out there these days. I have a daughter who works with a public policy foundation in Austin, and she's been directly involved in EPA-related activities. I'll ask her for input. But I worry that you've caveated this to the point that I can't win - obviously "fake" isn't admissible, but there may be plenty of things I consider inappropriate that you just think are ok. I'll see what I can come up with, though.

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Phi for All    4811

The sort of thing that I'm talking about takes the general form of "little people" (like a small farmer or something) suddenly being told they can't use their land the way they've been using it for decades, or generations, because of some regulation.

 

Obviously, it should make a difference what the farmer's way of using it entailed. If the EPA/FDA is insisting they use more humane practices with their animals, or that they have to take extra measures with burning off chaff or fertilizing fields, I really have no problems with that. Telling me they've been doing it this way for generations means squat. This is a modern world in a country with other people to take into consideration.

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KipIngram    131

Yes, I get that, and agree. I will try to find the best possible example. It still may come down to a difference of opinion, but hopefully I'll at least be able to get a "Yes, I really do see both sides of that one" reaction from you. Just as an aside, I am guessing that it's *big corporate* farms that are most guilty of mistreating animals, as opposed to small traditional farmers. I've heard some horror stories about the way factory farms treat animals. :-(

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Phi for All    4811

Just as an aside, I am guessing that it's *big corporate* farms that are most guilty of mistreating animals, as opposed to small traditional farmers. I've heard some horror stories about the way factory farms treat animals. :-(

 

I think most people make guesses like this and it's one of the reasons why I support government regulations. Capitalism is the best shot most of us have of making an above-average living in modern society because it's always searching for profit as a priority, but we MUST be willing to acknowledge that sometimes the treatment of animals should outweigh profit, that our environment is more important than money, and that if we don't regulate our capitalism, it will choke the life out of everything else to reach its goal.

 

In the US, capitalism has become a firehose for the thirsty, and the Trump administration seems to be saying screw you if you can't afford to figure out how to get a drink.

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KipIngram    131

I'm very closely in agreement with every word of that.

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Good friend of mine who works for the EPA tells me they're funded through September, and after that they're expecting the usual Republican abdication of environmental responsibility for an agency they believe robs them of profit.

 

"Republican abdication of environmental responsibility"... for an agency "they believe robs them of profit."

 

"Profit" is a gross misuse of the word. Governments do not MAKE "a profit." They sometimes have revenues in excess of expenditures, but "profit" is a term reserved for the private sector.

 

Now as to what is "environmentally responsible," the pretense that ever more restrictions on every aspect of life is somehow GOOD for the "environment, no matter what the cost neglects cost benefit analysis and basic economics. The Law of Variable Proportions is always ignored by the Democratic abdication of financial responsibility and limited government.

 

WHAT IF trillions of dollars of government spending for decades accomplishes nothing worthwhile, except to deprive billions of people worldwide of some semblance of decent living? WHAT IF? Nobody on the Left dares to contemplate such a thought. They cannot possibly countenance that they might be wrong.

 

The hubris of the Left is devastating, and deadly.

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iNow    4574

And hyperbole literally connects my head to my desk

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Manticore    118

 

"Republican abdication of environmental responsibility"... for an agency "they believe robs them of profit."

 

"Profit" is a gross misuse of the word. Governments do not MAKE "a profit." They sometimes have revenues in excess of expenditures, but "profit" is a term reserved for the private sector.

 

Governments do not make a profit - Many Republicans in power do, in the form of the immense amount of funding they get from the pollution industries.

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Has anyone in this forum considered, just considered the possibility that spending trillions of tax dollars to address "climate change" might truly be a colossal waste of money? What if in fact that is the case, as John Kerry claims here:

 

 

And IF in fact so many millions of people are as "concerned" to "do something" as they claim, why then do they:

 

1. Continue to take vacations all over the world

2. Continue to drive their children to and from school every day

3. Continue driving their children to soccer and softball and swimming and tennis and summer camp and friends' houses, and

4. Continue driving to picnics and family outings

5. Continue flying to California to visit Disneyland and Yosemite and the beaches and attractions

6. Continue driving in excess of the speed limit, needlessly burning far more of that horrible fossil fuel than they need to and that they claim to hate so very much

7. Buy electric cars such as the Tesla, which is very expensive compared to conventional cars, and which costs a very great deal of fossil fuel to build as a consequence

8. Live in colossal houses, as in the case of Al Gore, who purchased a massive mansion near sea level close to San Francisco

9. Globe trot around the world, constantly, while telling everybody else to cut back their use of fossil fuel by 80%, as in the case of Barack Obama, and Richard Branson, and UN functionaries, and "academics"

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