Increasing space exploration trades off with climate science
Johnson 2/9 (Brad, Masters in geosci @ MIT, 2/9/11, http://thinkprogress.org/green/2011/02/09/174910/gop-abandon-earth/) JPG
However, Republicans in Congress find the clean energy pathway unreasonable, arguing the costs of reducing our toxic dependence on coal and oil would be too great. Perhaps stung by accusations that they are simply the Party of No, a group of House Republicans have now put forwardan alternate strategy to avoiding disastrous global warming: the first step being to scrap NASA’s world-leading climate science research funding, and direct it instead into sending people into unpolluted outer space: Global warming funding presents an opportunity to reduce spending without unduly impactingNASA’s core human spaceflight mission. With your help, we can reorient NASA’s mission back toward human spaceflight by reducing funding for climate change research and reallocating those funds to NASA’s human spaceflight accounts, all while moving overall discretionary spendingtoward 2008levels. The signatories of this Abandon Earth letter to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) and Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf (R-VA) are Reps. Sandy Adams (R-FL), Rob Bishop (R-UT), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Pete Olson (R-TX) and Bill Posey (R-FL), all from districts that play a role in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) manned spaceflight program. As they are currently on planet Earth, they are also all from districts threatened by the effects of global warming.
Space exploration and climate research funding are zero sum – tight budgets force internal trade-offs
Whittington 11 (Mark, independent journalist in space, 3/20/11, http://old.news.yahoo.com/s/ac/20110320/sc_ac/8103220_gop_lawmakers_cut_nasa_earth_science_fund_human_space_exploration) JPG
One aspect of a drive for an austerity budget is that programs begin to compete against one another for support and attention. Thus a fight has broken out over which NASA program gets cut, space exploration or climate research. According to Space News, in a recent letter to Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, Rep. Sandy Adams of Florida and Rep. Pete Olson of Texas made the plea to focus on the $1.6 billion in NASA devoted to Earth science and climate research as area to suffer budget cuts. While some cynics may suggest that Adams and Olson are just protecting their state's turfs, there is an actual case to be made that goes beyond pork politics. Climate research at NASA has become very politicized, being seen as more an attempt to amass evidence for global warming and thus support for draconian energy policies rather than as disinterested science. There have also been a couple of launch failures in the Earth science program, one just recently of the Glory satellite. Some have even posited strange, almost-conspiracy theories concerning those launch failures. On the other hand, while Earth observation science is an enumerated mission of NASA dating to its beginning, human space exploration is its crown jewel. When one thinks of NASA, one thinks of Apollo, the space shuttle and the International Space Station first. Planetary probes such as the Mars Rovers and the Cassini, now orbiting Saturn, come in for mention as well. But Earth Science is rather down on the list of priorities. Couple that with lingering anger over President Barack Obama'scancellationof the Constellation space exploration program, one can see that an attempt to strike at one of his prioritiesin an attempt to preserve was is left of the space exploration program would follow as night follows day. Leaving aside the merits of an Earth Science program, at least if it is conducted in a non political manner, tight budgets mean having to pick and choose priorities. Politically and substantially human space exploration over Earth Science is a no-brainer. Sending human explorers beyond Low Earth orbit has more implications for the future course of human civilization than a politicized Earth Science program.
Two Republican lawmakersappealed to House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to spare NASA’s manned space exploration programs from the budget axe next year while suggesting the agency’s roughly $1.6 billion request for climate-monitoring initiatives is ripe for cuts. “The establishment of, and commitment to, human space exploration is critical to our country’s national security and economy, and we respectfully ask that our Republican budget reflect this national priority,” Reps. Sandy Adams (R-Fla.) and Pete Olson (R-Texas) said in a March 17 letter to Ryan, whose job as budget chief is to establish top-level spending allocations for the coming fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. Adams and Olson, who represent states with a stake in NASA’s manned spaceflight program, said the current fiscal situation is forcing hard choices as members of the GOP-led House seek to curb discretionary spending at federal agencies. “To be clear, we believe that NASA’s budget can be reduced,” the lawmakers wrote, urging Ryan to take aim at climate-monitoring programs poised for a modest funding boost over the next five years under the $18.72 billion budget blueprint U.S. President Barack Obama unveiled Feb. 14. “Within the NASA budgetspecifically, we believe there is an opportunity to cut funding within the Earth Science account where an overabundance of climate change research is being conducted,” they wrote.