Tag Archives: science policy

Earth Day and Auctions

Here’s a half-baked post that I started months ago. I decided to rush it to press for Earth Day, which is today.

The first U.S. auction for carbon emission pollution rights occurred in December of 2008. It raised over $38.5B, which will go to six states in New England. From ScienceNOW Daily News:

The auction’s premise is that putting a price tag on pollution–so-called carbon trading–will eventually reduce emissions industrywide. Companies must pay for the right to emit greenhouse gas emissions and are penalized for excess pollution.

RGGI states, picture

The ten states shown in dark green are participating in RGGI. Observers are represented in lime green.

The ten states shown in dark green are participating in RGGI. Observers are represented in lime green.

How did the auction work? online, reserve price, open to investors and environmental groups, required for power companies in RGGI states. Not required for manufacturing or transportation. Any earth-day-interested readers out there to fill in these details? Or, to do a little follow up research about how things have gone? (I wrote this last December.)

Finally, here is a humorous critique of carbon trading, based on the observation that carbon credits are a scarce resource. This is highlighted by a paired example from cheatneutral. I find it compelling.

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Science Funding 2009 (not good news)

There is this paradox: federal budgets, and, particularly, what is allocated for science, is something so important day-to-day for researchers, yet reading about budgets is so boring that I can hardly bring myself to do it.

It is important, though, so we should try. The folks at ScienceNOW have done a nice summary of the effects of the “continuing resolution” which congress passed last weekend and Bush signed on Tuesday. What this means in dollars is that most all budget items stay the same as last year, except that there is also inflation, so, in real dollars the amount spent on all science decreases.

“I think the next Administration will be very leery of more spending given the current state of the economy,” speculates Samuel Rankin III, a lobbyist for the American Mathematical Society and head of the Coalition for National Science Funding.

For some science agencies, the CR actually puts them below the amounts spent this year. That’s because the legislators excluded the $400 million divvied up among NSF, DOE, NASA, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under a supplemental 2008 spending bill passed in June

Let’s not be all doom and gloom, though; Michael Mitzenmacher reports that enrollment in beginning CS at Harvard is up, up, up.

2 years ago — 132
1 year ago — 282
this year — 341

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