AGU Statement on 2015 State of the Union Speech

21 January 2015
AGU Science Policy Alert 15-3

WASHINGTON, DC—The following statement is attributable to American Geophysical Union (AGU) executive director/CEO Christine McEntee:

“As President Obama said in his State of the Union address tonight, you don’t have to be a scientist to understand why science matters. You also don’t have to be a scientist to understand why bipartisan support for research funding should be a no-brainer.

Issues such as energy innovation and the impacts of our changing climate aren’t limited to red states or blue states. And the discoveries that result from scientific research benefit families and communities as much as they benefit industry. We know that scientific innovation leads to job creation and economic growth, and that support for basic research is an investment in America’s future. But how can we support the needs of a 21st century economy and society when investments in research are, at best, stagnant?

Now is the time for bipartisan support, and we look forward to seeing that realized in the FY2016 budget. If we want to reap the benefits of America’s capacity for innovation we cannot abdicate our responsibility to invest in basic and applied research.

In addition to investing in basic research, we must also strengthen science and technology education to help prepare the next generation of innovators. Failure to do so would ultimately weaken the nation’s economic recovery, threaten public safety and undermine our goal for a sustainable energy future. Community colleges play an important role in filling the STEM pipeline, and the President’s new plan has a great deal of potential when it comes to ensuring that we have a diverse talent pool ready to meet the challenges we face today and tomorrow.

And when it comes to climate change and its growing impact on public health and safety, economic stability and national security here in the U.S. and around the world, we applaud the President’s continued commitment to public education and his actions related to mitigation. However, we also need to be taking steps to ensure that communities can cope with the extreme weather and other changes we can no longer avoid. This includes allowing scientists to provide communities and local, state and national government agencies with the information they need to make informed decisions, without having to worry about interference from Congress.

Addressing climate change does not have to come at the expense of economic prosperity. By taking steps to address the causes and impacts of climate change we can protect our communities, strengthen national security and improve the prospects for our children’s future, while simultaneously fostering innovation and opening new avenues of opportunity for business growth and development.”

Check the AGU blog The Bridge tomorrow (22 January) for more in-depth disussion of the speech.