The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of The Planet

The Politics of The Planet










President Obama is expected to unveil his new energy policy today which was first mentioned in The State of the Union last month.  The so-called “Energy Security Trust” would use money accrued through royalties received from oil company leases on off shore drilling sites.  This revenue, nearly $2 Billion a year, would be used to fund research on alternative forms of energy.  Predictably the plan is already getting push-back from Speaker of the House John Boehner who was apparently for this plan before he was against it.  A strikingly similar “trust fund” was proposed by the GOP in sec. 321 of their 2009 energy bill which Speaker Boehner introduced and sponsored.  Mr. Boehner is not alone in his opposition, Christopher Helman of Forbes explains how the trust could be a back door to a carbon tax and why Congress should nip this policy in the proverbial bud.[Forbes]

In the shadow of the “Energy Security Trust” announcement, Andrew Revkin of the New York Times discusses the impact of budget cuts on the scientific community, particularly alternative energy research. Even before sequestration, the amount of the budget which was devoted to such research was negligible. According to a report cited by Revkin, less than 1% of the federal budget goes toward funding for scientific study.[NYT]

If global warming is caused by fossil fuels, it could be that the proliferation of alternative energy sources may not come soon enough to save the monarch butterfly.  Extreme drought and heat on the North American continent has caused the pollinating insect to decline drastically in number.  Climate change may only be part of the story, some are concerned that genetically modified crops could be partly to blame for the extreme downturn in population.  Many seeds (including corn and soybean) are modified to tolerate herbicides  allowing farmers to eradicate weeds which they deem a nuisance but which are essential to survival of the monarch.[NYT]



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