Issues in Science and Technology

A quarterly journal of the National Academy of Science focused on discussion of public policy related to science, engineering, and medicine. Provides a forum researchers, government officials, business leaders, and others concerned with public policy to s

Articles from Vol. 25, No. 2, Winter

A Full-Court Press for Renewable Energy: Transformation of the Energy System Will Require Steady and Generous Government Support across Technological, Economic, and Social Domains
Any effort to move the United States away from its current fossil-fuel energy system will require the promotion of renewable energy. Of course, renewable energy alone will not solve all problems of climate change, energy security, and local pollution;...
Big Boost in Energy R&D Funding Supported
Although most of the energy policy debate in Congress during the fall of 2008 centered on expanding offshore drilling and renewable tax incentives, both of which were approved in the waning days of the 110th Congress, legislators also examined the...
Budget Doubling Defended
Richard Freeman and John Van Reenen ("Be Careful What You Wish For: A Cautionary Tale about Budget Doubling," Issues, Fall 2008) provided a thought-provoking analysis of the budget doubling for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). They raised an...
Climate Change Proposals Multiply
As the 110th Congress wrapped up, legislators were already looking ahead to the next session, releasing drafts of climate change proposals they hope to advance. The measures reflect growing interest in Congress in addressing the broad spectrum of concerns...
Climate Change Think Globally, Assess Regionally, Act Locally: Scientists Must Develop Regional Assessments of Climate Change That Are Essential to the Local Policymakers Who Will Have to Make the Critical Decisions about How to Respond
Climate change is here to stay. No matter how effectively governments and the private sector limit greenhouse gas emissions, average global temperatures will rise during the next several decades. Scientists know less well how climate change effects...
Energy Security for American Families; Helping Moderate-Income Households Invest in Energy-Efficient Cars, Appliances, and Home Retrofits Would Benefit Financially Struggling Families as Well as the U.S. Economy
In July 2008, Americans were paying $4.11 per gallon of gasoline--nearly three times the price six years earlier, according to the Energy Information Administration. Most people have felt the pinch of higher energy prices, but those hurt the most have...
Getting More Miles per Gallon; the Answer May Require Looking beyond CAFE Standards and Implementing Other Consumer-Oriented Policy Options to Wean Drivers Away from Past Habits
In December 2007, concerns over energy security and human-induced climate change prompted Congress to increase Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for the first time in 20 years. The new standards aim to reduce petroleum consumption and...
Low Carbon Fuel Standards: The Most Direct and Effective Policy for Transitioning to Low-Carbon Alternative Transportation Fuels Is to Spur Innovation with a Comprehensive Performance Standard for Upstream Fuel Producers
When it comes to energy security and climate change concerns, transportation is the principal culprit. It consumes half the oil used in the world and accounts for almost one-fourth of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In the United States, it plays...
NASA Funding Boost Authorized
Emphasizing the important role that a balanced and adequately funded science program at NASA plays in the nation's innovation agenda, Congress in October approved a bill with broad bipartisan support that could significantly increase NASA's funding....
Overcoming Stone Age Logic
Through a remarkable manipulation of limited knowledge, brute force, and an overwhelming arrogance, humans have shaped a world that in all likelihood cannot sustain the standard of living and quality of life we have come to take for granted. Our approach...
Reduce Greenhouse Gases Profitably; a Regulatory System That Rewards Energy Companies for Innovations That Boost Efficiency Can Appeal to Environmentalists and Industry Alike
After the Senate's failed effort to pass the Lieberman-Warner climate change bill, Congress could conclude that reducing greenhouse pollution is a political impossibility--the costs too high, the benefits too uncertain, the opposition too entrenched....
Research Funding Flat in 2009 as Budget Stalls
Fiscal year (FY) 2009 began on October 1 with final budget decisions for most federal agencies postponed until at least January 2009. To keep the government operating, lawmakers combined three final appropriations bills into a continuing resolution...
Restoring and Protecting Coastal Louisiana; the Challenges Facing the Gulf Coast Reflect a National Inability to Come to Grips with the Need to Deal with Neglected Infrastructure, Both Natural and Built
The sustainability of coastal Louisiana is critical to the nation. It is the location of a large part of the nation's oil and gas industry and its largest port complex. It provides vital habitat for economically important fisheries and threatened and...
Science on the Campaign Trail
In November 2007, a group of six citizens decided to do something to elevate science and technology in the national dialogue. They created Science Debate 2008, an initiative calling for a presidential debate on science policy. They put up a Web site,...
The High Road for U.S. Manufacturing; Manufacturing Employment Could Be Stabilized with More Widespread Use of Advanced Production Methods. Government Policy Can Play a Key Role
The United States has been losing manufacturing jobs at a stunning rate: 16% of the jobs disappeared in just the three years between 2000 and 2003, with a further decline of almost 4% since 2003. In all, the nation has lost 4 million manufacturing...