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Andrew Rosenberg

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About the author: Andrew Rosenberg is the director of the UCS Center for Science and Democracy. He leads UCS's efforts to advance the essential role that science, evidence-based decision making, and constructive debate play in American policy making. See Andrew's full bio.

The Secret Science Reform Act: Perhaps We Should Just Call it Catch-22

Fifty years ago, the great American novelist Joseph Heller was in the midst of writing Catch-22, creating an enduring story and coining a phrase that has become part of our language.  According to Merriam-Webster, Catch-22 means “a problematic situation for which the only solution is denied by a circumstance inherent in the problem or by a rule.”  When I read the book years ago, I remember thinking it was a beautifully elegant example of another common aphorism, “Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.” Read More

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Federal Trade Commission Pushes Back Against Counterfeit Science

The Center for Science and Democracy at UCS was created because we believe scientific evidence matters—for public policy decisions, and for citizens making decisions every day about their health and well-being. At least as far as truth in advertising goes, it turns out we have a strong ally in the federal government: the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Read More

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Scientific Advice for the New EPA Carbon Emissions Standards: Let’s Clear the Air

This month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published proposed new standards limiting Greenhouse Gas Emissions from new electricity generating power plants using coal or natural gas. Allegations of secrecy and political interference in science began to surface even before the proposal was released. So do these allegations have any merit? Read More

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Using Science to Address Inaction, Not Just Uncertainty

In a recent article published in Nature, William Sutherland and his colleagues give 20 tips for interpreting scientific claims and suggest educating policy makers on “the imperfect nature of science”. Their tips are useful and perhaps should be cautious reminders on the desk of every scientist before they step forward to provide advice. But the tips can also mislead policymakers into failing to make a decision in the absence of unrealistic, and unattainable, absolute certainty. Read More

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Through the Looking Glass: Climate Change Denial, Conflict of Interest and Connecting Science to Policy

The Boston Globe has an outstanding series of articles entitled “Broken City” and it is not hard to guess which city they are referring to.  Hint—not the one that boasts a World-Series-winning team. Read More

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Congress Wants to Keep the Feds Out of Fracking: Bad Idea

In July, before our Science and Democracy forum on fracking, I wrote about the important role the federal government has to play, working with state and local government, to address the risks of hydraulic fracturing and the associated development of unconventional oil and gas resources. Apparently, members of the U.S. House of Representatives didn’t read my blog. Read More

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Science Stories from the Shutdown

As I write this, we are into the eleventh day of a partial shutdown of federal government operations, prompted by a failure of Congress to approve a budget for the 2014 fiscal year, which began on October 1. As we began this new month, the government furloughed hundreds of thousands of federal workers and federal contractors. But the effects of the shutdown go far beyond just national parks and government agencies. Read More

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Fracking and Community Action: Make Your Voice Heard!

with Kate Konschnik, Policy Director, Environmental Law and Policy Program, Harvard Law School

Hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) is unlocking unconventional oil and gas resources and transforming our energy profile. Within the last decade, we have seen a steady uptick in domestic oil and gas production, a dramatic drop in American natural gas prices, and the retirement of old coal plants forced out of the market by more efficient gas-fired energy. We’ve seen oil and gas production in places where it never before existed, and a remarkable scale and intensity of development. Read More

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Fracking and My Community’s Water: What Do We Know or When Will We Know It?

Monika Freyman Manager, Water Program

Ceres, Boston, MA

Controversy concerning the practice of hydraulic fracturing and unconventional oil and gas development is about more than just breaking up underground rock deposits to release gas and oil. The policy discussion is also about the overall risks and benefits of the entire industrial process of development, from exploration and drilling to build-out of infrastructure, land use changes, production, transportation, and the cumulative impacts on communities of the business of extracting fossil fuels from shale deposits. The injection of water, sand, and chemicals deep below ground is clearly part of issue, but so is the fact that drilling is occurring in dense patterns across the landscape in many regions unaccustomed to energy development. Read More

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The House Science Committee and the EPA Fighting Over Data: Is That the Same as Secret Science?

Rep. Lamar Smith, Chairman of the House Science Committee seems to be implying that unless the raw data from two major studies are made available to him and his colleagues, that the science used by the EPA in crafting some air quality regulations is secret.  The Center for Science and Democracy at UCS was formed to advance the role of science and scientific evidence in public policy.  So should we be supporting Chairman Smith’s demand, which he has backed up by a subpoena? Read More

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