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Archive for November, 2009

On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), were joined by university leaders and researchers to launch a new initiative, ScienceWorksForUS, as part of a press conference discussing ARRA-backed funding for research, recovery, and reinvestment opportunities. The science initiative, whose new website went live on Tuesday as well, is being sponsored by the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and The Science Coalition (TSC).

ScienceWorksForUs is a collaboration of the AAU, APLU, and TSC to demonstrate the positive impact that direct government funding, in this case the stimulus dollars from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), can have on university research efforts.

While ScienceWorksForUS focuses on general scientific research, the AAU and APLU are part of a growing consensus of experts that have called for direct public funding for clean energy R&D on the order of $15 billion dollars per year. In addition, the AAU and APLU joined the Breakthrough Institute this summer, as well as 100 universities, professionals, and youth groups, in submitting a letter to Congress asking them to fully fund President Barack Obama’s national math and science education program, RE-ENERGYSE, a program which needs to be funded in FY2011. (more…)

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By Teryn Norris & Devon Swezey

Originally published by The Stanford Review

You know the world is changing when the president’s first trip to Asia is defined by a new U.S. foreign policy dubbed “strategic reassurance” – convincing China that the United States has no intention of containing its growing power or endangering its foreign investments. As the New York Times put it, “When President Obama visits China for the first time on Sunday, he will, in many ways, be assuming the role of profligate spender coming to pay respects to his banker.”

You also know times are changing when China, the world’s greatest polluter, and other Asian nations are poised to dominate the burgeoning global clean-tech industry by out-investing the United States. That’s the conclusion of a large new report we co-authored called “Rising Tigers, Timid Giant (PDF),” released this week by the Breakthrough Institute and Information Technology & Innovation Foundation. The report is the first to thoroughly benchmark clean energy competitiveness in four nations – China, Japan, South Korea, and the United States – and finds the following:

“Asia’s rising ‘clean technology tigers’ – China, Japan, and South Korea – have already passed the United States in the production of virtually all clean energy technologies and over the next five years will out-invest the U.S. three-to-one in these sectors… While some U.S. firms will benefit from the establishment of joint ventures overseas, the jobs, tax revenues, and other benefits of clean tech growth will overwhelmingly accrue to Asian nations… Should the investment gap persist, the U.S. will import the overwhelming majority of clean energy technologies it deploys.”

What do these two changes have in common? They both reflect the accelerating shift of global power from America to Asia, caused in large part by the serious mismanagement of U.S. economic policy.

The Pacific power shift is not a new phenomenon, and the Obama administration is wise to seek stronger ties with the region. The U.S. should applaud Asia’s growth, which is partly an outcome of our own success at promoting economic liberalism and international development. This shift in power is not a zero-sum game, nor should it be: the U.S. and Asia should avoid trade wars at all costs, and we should seize opportunities for partnership on a range of issues, from climate change to nuclear proliferation.

But the growing pace of this power shift should be a cause of major concern for Americans, and it should raise serious questions about our economic policies at the highest level. While the U.S. economy has suffered greatly from a crisis produced by its own financial sector – losing millions of jobs, trillions in economic output, and demanding huge spending packages financed by borrowed money – China has shrugged off the global recession with high levels of growth and self-financed stimulus, all while purchasing billions of Treasury bills to fund a U.S. deficit that has reached historic highs.

Last November, addressing the nation on the evening of his election, President Obama declared that “a new era of American leadership is at hand.” And indeed, his new administration has taken significant steps to remake U.S. foreign policy. But unless the U.S. quickly improves its economic competitiveness, our global leadership will be severely damaged. What is demanded now is a major, coordinated national project to regain our economic competitiveness in strategic sectors while permanently correcting the imbalances that led to the Great Recession.

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Kevin RuddLess than three weeks from the Australian Senate’s highly anticipated second vote on the CPRS bill, the Australian Government’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) has revealed new problems with the Rudd Government’s deeply flawed cap-and-trade plan.

Crikey’s national politics correspondent Bernard Keane has found that the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) will require a massive $5 billion of taxpayer subsidies in its first five years, not breaking even until 2022. With the Labor Government releasing this crucial data so late in the game, it’s no wonder that Australia’s policy analysts are finding some interesting surprises.

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