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February 4, 2008
Volume 86, Number 05
p. 7

State Of The Union

President Urges Research Funding

Bush backs physical sciences, clean energy, and free trade

Glenn Hess

IN HIS STATE OF THE UNION address on Jan. 28, President George W. Bush urged Congress to double funding for basic research in the physical sciences, create an international clean energy technology fund, and pass several pending free-trade agreements to open up new markets for U.S. manufacturers.

The President noted that Congress passed the America Competes Act last year to improve math and science education and increase federal support for basic research, but did not provide funding. The program calls for a 10-year, $137 billion investment in the agencies that support science and engineering research.

"This funding is essential to keeping our scientific edge," Bush declared. "So I ask Congress to double support for critical basic research in the physical sciences."

Bush also asked lawmakers to voluntarily cut the number and cost of congressional directives, or earmarks, in half. Later, he issued an executive order directing federal agencies to ignore any future spending project that is not voted on by Congress.

The President also reiterated his call for an international agreement on climate change "that has the potential to slow, stop, and eventually reverse the growth of greenhouse gases" through actions by every major economy. Bush avoided any mention of mandatory controls on emissions.

He urged lawmakers to support the creation of a $2 billion international clean technology fund to help developing nations cut the growth of their emissions linked to global warming. Bush also urged Congress to approve free-trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, and said he remains committed to the Doha Round of global trade talks, which promise lower industrial tariffs.

Environmental activists were disappointed that the President would not commit to enacting binding climate legislation. "Any presumption that the crisis of global warming can be met through voluntary measures is a fantasy," argues Karen Wayland, legislative director of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

American Chemistry Council President Jack N. Gerard welcomed Bush's remarks. "If we are to meet rising energy demand while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preserving economic strength, Congress must invest in lower emission energy technologies such as nuclear, renewables, and clean coal," he said.

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Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2009 American Chemical Society


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