The Spectacle Blog

Obama Orders NASA to Prioritize Climate Change

By on 6.26.14 | 3:39PM

NASA is becoming just another tool in President Obama’s climate agenda.

This week marks the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s climate change speech in which he raged against greenhouse gas emissions. He proposed a series of executive actions on climate change and blamed Congress for failing to act on his fearmongering agenda. The executive actions sidestepped Congress by invoking the Clean Air Act, a broad-based law that gives the EPA the power to regulate carbon emissions on a commercial scale.

The budget for Obama’s seventy-five-point climate action plan includes $909 million to the State Department for clean energy and $1.8 billion to NASA for earth-oriented satellite and research efforts, among other expenditures involving twelve of the fifteen other departments and agencies.

“The Obama administration continues to advocate increasing climate change funding to NASA at the expense of other priorities,” said Congressman Lamar Smith, chairman of the Science, Space and Technology Committee at yesterday’s hearing. As long as Obama favors the costly clean energy race over the space race, we'd better brace ourselves for more Solyndras.

NASA was formed in 1958 to address the role of developing technology for space observations. In 1984, Congress revised its mission to include earth science. Now it appears that its climate-oriented mission supersedes its original purpose.

This year there will be five earth-observing missions, including a carbon-counting satellite launch on July 1. There were more earth-focused launches this year than over the past decade.

Our space shuttles are in museums. Our rockets come from Russia. NASA’s main site is plastered with maps of air quality, while Climate.nasa.gov features a sea level viewer, global ice viewer, and something called the climate time machine. Its banner hosts the “vital signs of the planet.”

“The administration made it clear that human space exploration is not a priority,” warned Smith.

A report by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity predicted that Obama’s proposed climate plan would reduce atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gas emissions by less than 1 percent, cooling global temperatures by .016 degrees and reducing sea levels by 1/100th of an inch. According to the White House, the plan’s benefits won’t be realized until at least 2020. Is this worth the expansion of the government apparatus?

On top of regulating carbon emissions, the Obama administration wants to reduce methane emissions from the dairy industry by 25 percent by 2020. Legislators predict an animal flatulence tax.

A NASA official reportedly told chairman Smith that “the asteroid retrieval mission (ARM) is not considered to be a serious proposal.” It has no budget, no destination, and no launch date. The testimonies of the two witnesses confirmed modern ambivalence to space exploration.

The witnesses—Dr. Jonathan Lunine and Governor Mitch Daniels—concluded what any third grader could have deduced. They argued that Congress should “predefine a set of chosen destinations and milestones,” and “have the discipline” to stick to a long-term plan.  They stated that Mars will cost decades, lives, and hundreds of billions of dollars, and face inevitable setbacks.

Yet, when our nation stops pushing the boundaries of the possible, we are prohibiting innovation, the force that makes America exceptional.

At this rate, the first flag flying on another planet in our solar system will be Russian.

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