Category Archives: News

Safe Science and the Need for Improved Lab Protection

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Photo credit: Keck Graduate Institute

In June of this year, five years after the UCLA laboratory fire that claimed the life of a staff research assistant, the case against organic chemistry professor Patrick Harran came to an end.

The fire started when Sheharbano Sangji’s plastic syringe broke and exposed a volatile chemical to the air. Without a protective lab coat, she suffered severe burns and died 18 days later. UCLA and Sangji’s supervisor, Harran, were held accountable for the accident, though the charges against UCLA were dropped in 2012.

Now, the charges against Harran will be dismissed thanks to the deferred prosecution agreement. Part of the agreement includes speaking to new UCLA students about the importance of lab safety.

The UCLA accident was not an isolated incident. In January 2010, a Texas Tech graduate student was severely injured in a laboratory explosion. He had neglected several safety precautions, including the use of a blast shield and personal protective wear. Just over a year later, in April 2011, an undergraduate student was killed in Yale’s laboratory machine shop. She was asphyxiated when her hair became tangled in a lathe.

These accidents — and others like them — highlight the need for improved lab safety. But enforcing compliance to a series of increasing regulation can only go so far in protecting researchers. Academic laboratories need a better, more permanent solution. That solution is to adopt a culture of safety:

A culture of safety in academic laboratories that transcends inspections, standard operating procedures, and chemical safety plans. A true safety culture represents a total commitment to achieving safety even in the absence of specific rules or other regulatory guidance. It means making safety a ongoing operational priority.

That’s what the National Research Council recommends in its new report, Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. The report’s recommendations challenge many longstanding ideas about chemical research, and ask for a fundamental shift in how we approach lab safety. Adopting a culture of safety is the best way to mitigate the inherent dangers of the laboratory and to protect our researchers.

To read the report, visit Safe Science’s page on our website.

Our cybersecurity expert gives his take on the charges of cyberattack by the Chinese army

The recent charges of hacking into US corporate targets against five members of the Chinese army has brought the issue of cybersecurity into the headlines. We asked Herb Lin, one of the editors of our new report on the intersection of cybersecurity and public policy, for his thoughts:

“As discussed in At the Nexus Of Cybersecurity and Policy, this story brings to the fore differences in how the United States and virtually every other nation view intelligence gathering. The United States draws sharp distinctions between intelligence for national security purposes and for economic purposes, whereas China (and most other nations in the world) do not. The difference in values is not likely to be reconciled any time soon. It also turns out that access was gained through the use of relatively unsophisticated penetration techniques, thus underscoring the point that simple defensive techniques can have significant value.” — Herb Lin, Chief Scientist at the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board

Watch this video of Herb running down six things to know about cybersecurity and public policy, and some of the things we can do to start tackling the problems:

Start of a New Trend? Preschool Obesity Rate Declines

Great news! According to a new report, the obesity rate among 2–5-year old children has dropped 43 percent during the past decade, the first significant decline in an epidemic that often leads to lifelong struggles with weight and higher risks for cancer, heart disease and stroke. The not-so-great news—we still face challenges to reduce the incidence of obesity in the United States, as a third of adults and 17 percent of youth are obese.

Reports about obesity from The Institute of Medicine provide guidance for health professionals, policymakers, schools, and concerned citizens to continue their efforts to improve the health of Americans. We’ve listed some of them below, and have more in our special collection of obesity titles. All are free to download.

Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School

Physical inactivity is a key determinant of health across the lifespan. A lack of activity increases the risk of heart disease, colon and breast cancer, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, osteoporosis, anxiety and depression and others diseases. … [more]

Evaluating Obesity Prevention Efforts: A Plan for Measuring Progress

Obesity poses one of the greatest public health challenges of the 21st century, creating serious health, economic, and social consequences for individuals and society. Despite acceleration in efforts to characterize, comprehend, and act on this … [more]

Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation

One-third of adults are now obese, and children’s obesity rates have climbed from 5 to 17 percent in the past 30 years. The causes of the nation’s obesity epidemic are multi-factorial, having much more to do with the absence of sidewalks and the … [more]

Creating Equal Opportunities for a Healthy Weight: Workshop Summary

Creating Equal Opportunities for a Healthy Weight is the summary of a workshop convened by the Institute of Medicine’s Standing Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention in June 2013 to examine income, race, and ethnicity, and how these … [more]

Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Policies

Childhood obesity is a serious health problem that has adverse and long-lasting consequences for individuals, families, and communities. The magnitude of the problem has increased dramatically during the last three decades and, despite some … [more]

Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Reexamining the Guidelines

As women of childbearing age have become heavier, the trade-off between maternal and child health created by variation in gestational weight gain has become more difficult to reconcile. Weight Gain During Pregnancy responds to the need … [more]

Bridging the Evidence Gap in Obesity Prevention: A Framework to Inform Decision Making

To battle the obesity epidemic in America, health care professionals and policymakers need relevant, useful data on the effectiveness of obesity prevention policies and programs. Bridging the Evidence Gap in Obesity Prevention identifies … [more]

Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity

The prevalence of childhood obesity is so high in the United States that it may reduce the life expectancy of today’s generation of children. While parents and other adult caregivers play a fundamental role in teaching children about healthy … [more]

Does Climate Change Influence Drought?

After three consecutive years of below-normal rainfall, California faces its most severe drought emergency in decades. This image from NOAA of snow in the Sierra Mountains illustrates how the historic lack of rain has created a water shortfall.

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NOAA image

Governor Jerry Brown has called for Californians to reduce water use by 20 percent voluntarily, and mandatory rationing could be ordered soon so that homes, businesses and farms don’t run dry over the summer. California’s drought has far-reaching consequences that include dramatically less water for farms and communities and increased fires in both urban and rural areas.

Does climate change influence drought? What should be done to both provide water and protect ecosystems? Reports from the National Research Council explore these questions. Our resources discuss the science of climate change, consider climate change impacts at community and national levels, and recommend areas for further research. We also have reports that discuss options to provide water by improving water management and promoting water reuse. All are free to download.

Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises Climate is changing, forced out of the range of the past million years by levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases not seen in the Earth’s atmosphere for a very, very long time. Lacking action by the world’s nations, it is clear that … [more]

Advancing the Science of Climate Change Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for–and in many cases is already affecting–a broad range of human and natural systems. The compelling case for these conclusions is provided in … [more]

Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change Across the United States, impacts of climate change are already evident. Heat waves have become more frequent and intense, cold extremes have become less frequent, and patterns of rainfall are likely changing. The proportion of precipitation that … [more]

Global Change and Extreme Hydrology: Testing Conventional Wisdom Climate theory dictates that core elements of the climate system, including precipitation, evapotranspiration, and reservoirs of atmospheric and soil moisture, should change as the climate warms, both in their means and extremes. A major … [more]

Water Reuse: Potential for Expanding the Nation’s Water Supply Through Reuse of Municipal Wastewater Expanding water reuse–the use of treated wastewater for beneficial purposes including irrigation, industrial uses, and drinking water augmentation–could significantly increase the nation’s total available water resources. Water Reuse[more]

Desalination: A National Perspective There has been an exponential increase in desalination capacity both globally and nationally since 1960, fueled in part by growing concern for local water scarcity and made possible to a great extent by a major federal investment for desalination … [more]

Prospects for Managed Underground Storage of Recoverable Water Growing demands for water in many parts of the nation are fueling the search for new approaches to sustainable water management, including how best to store water. Society has historically relied on dams and reservoirs, but problems such as high … [more]

Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta Extensively modified over the last century and a half, California’s San Francisco Bay Delta Estuary remains biologically diverse and functions as a central element in California’s water supply system. Uncertainties about the future, actions … [more]

A Review of the Use of Science and Adaptive Management in California’s Draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan The San Francisco Bay Delta Estuary is a large, complex estuarine ecosystem in California. It has been substantially altered by dikes, levees, channelization, pumps, human development, introduced species, dams on its tributary streams and … [more]

A Scientific Assessment of Alternatives for Reducing Water Management Effects on Threatened and Endangered Fishes in California’s Bay Delta California’s Bay-Delta estuary is a biologically diverse estuarine ecosystem that plays a central role in the distribution of California’s water from the state’s wetter northern regions to its southern, arid, and populous cities and agricultural … [more]

Colorado River Basin Water Management: Evaluating and Adjusting to Hydroclimatic Variability Recent studies of past climate and streamflow conditions have broadened understanding of long-term water availability in the Colorado River, revealing many periods when streamflow was lower than at any time in the past 100 years of recorded … [more]

The NAP Guide to the 2014 State of the Union Address

This year’s State of the Union address focused on topics including energy, education, climate change, and gun violence. The National Academies Press provides resources directly related to these issues. Below, we’ve annotated the complete text of the President’s State of the Union speech with relevant reports from the National Academies that provide authoritative, independent guidance on these issues.

Continue reading

Bill & Melinda Gates Speak to the NAS

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At the 2013 National Academy of Sciences Annual Meeting on April 27th-29th, Bill and Melinda Gates received the prestigious Public Welfare Medal for improving the lives of millions by applying science to some of the world’s most difficult global health challenges. In the words of Bill Gates, find out why he and Melinda were “talking to scientists about toilets” in his recap of the event on his website, a full transcript of the acceptance speeches he and Melinda gave, as well as a video of them delivering their speeches.

To view a video of Bill and Melinda’s acceptance speeches, click here.

For a recap of the event from Bill himself, click here.

For a full transcript of Bill and Melinda’s speeches, click here.

Visit the NAS website to learn more about the Public Welfare Medal and notable past winners.

President Barack Obama’s Speech to the National Academy of Sciences [Full Transcript]

Yesterday morning, the National Academy of Sciences had the honor of celebrating its 150th anniversary with a speech by President Barack Obama. The President reflected on Abraham Lincoln’s founding of the National Academy of Sciences 150 years ago and asserted the importance of setting priorities for research, continuing our nation’s scientific advance, and maintaining our cutting edge with a fidelity to facts, truth, and evidence. President Obama emphasized that investments made today in science, technology, engineering, and medicine are all critical to the nation’s prosperity, and are bound to pay off for many years to come

This visit continues a succession of Presidential milestones, beginning with the founding of the NAS by President Lincoln in 1863, President Coolidge’s participation in the dedication of the NAS Building in 1924, and President Kennedy’s address at the Academy’s centennial celebration in 1963, as well as speeches by Jimmy Carter in 1979 and by George H.W. Bush in 1990.

Below is President Obama’s full speech annotated with reports from the National Academies press that are available for free download to help keep us on the leading edge of science innovation. To watch a recording of the President’s address, visit: www.nap.edu/Obama

Remarks by the President on the 150th Anniversary of the National Academy of Sciences

National Academy of Sciences
Washington, D.C.
11:30 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thank you so much. (Applause.) Please, everybody have a seat.

Well, it’s good to be back. Good morning, everybody, and thank you, Dr. Cicerone, for the kind introduction and the great work that you do. The good doctor was reminding me that the first time I came here, apparently joking, I warned him and John Holdren not to age too much in their jobs. And it turns out I’m the guy who’s aged. (Laughter.) They look great.

But, as always, it’s an honor to join our nation’s preeminent scholars, including my own Science Advisor, John Holdren, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the National Academy of Sciences. And since I did not do well enough in chemistry or physics to impress you much on those topics, let me instead tell a story.

One hundred and fifty years ago, the nation, as all of you know, was in the midst of the Civil War, and the Union had recently suffered a devastating defeat at Fredericksburg. The road ahead seemed long and uncertain. Confederate advances in weapons technology cast a dark shadow on the Union.

The previous spring, in the waters outside of Hampton Roads, the ironclad Confederate battleship Virginia had sunk two wooden Union ships and advanced on a third, and this endangered the Union blockade of Virginia and threatening Union forces along the Potomac River. And then, overnight, the USS Monitor, an ironclad herself, arrived and fought the Virginia to a draw in the world’s first battle between iron-sided ships.

There was no victor, but the era of ironclad warfare had begun. And it brought unexpected challenges for President Lincoln and his Navy as they expanded this fleet in early 1863, because aboard their new iron-side battleships, sailors found that the iron siding made the ships’ compasses unpredictable, so it skewed navigation, and they were bumping into things and going the wrong way. (Laughter.) So the basic physics of magnetism undermined the usefulness of the ironclad vessels, even as the Confederates were stocking up on them.

And that’s where your predecessors came in. Because in March of 1983 — 1863, rather — President Lincoln and Congress established the National Academy of Sciences as an independent and nonprofit institution charged with the mission to provide the government with the scientific advice that it needed. And this was advice that was particularly useful in the thick of battle.

The National Academy soon counted the nation’s top scientists as members. They quickly got to work. By the next year, they were inspecting the Union’s ironclads and installing an array of bar magnets around the compasses to correct their navigation. So right off the bat, you guys were really useful. (Laughter.) In fact, it’s fair to say we might not be here had you not — (laughter) — certainly I would not be here. (Laughter and applause.)

Now, political leaders have long recognized the connection between technology and warfare throughout our human history. Sadly, this is an element of the human condition. We take our wars very seriously and we’re always looking for new ways to engage in a war. But President Lincoln founded the Academy with a mandate that went far beyond the science and technology of war. Even as the nation was at war with itself, President Lincoln had the wisdom to look forward, and he recognized that finding a way to harness the highest caliber scientific advice for the government would serve a whole range of long-term goals for the nation.

It was the same foresight that led him to establish land-grant colleges and finish the Transcontinental Railroad — the idea that the essence of America is this hunger to innovate, this restlessness, this quest for the next big thing. And although much of this innovation would be generated by the powers of our free market, the investments and the convening power of the federal government could accelerate discovery in a way that would continually push the nation forward.

That’s our inheritance, and now the task falls to us. We, too, face significant challenges — obviously not of the magnitude that President Lincoln faced, but we’ve got severe economic and security and environmental challenges. And what we know from our past is that the investments we make today are bound to pay off many times over in the years to come.

So we will continue to pursue advances in science and engineering, in infrastructure and innovation, in education and environmental protection — especially science-based initiatives to help us minimize and adapt to global threats like climate change.

And I’m confident we’ll meet that task because we’ve got you — brilliant and committed scientists to help us guide the way. And part of what’s made the Academy so effective is that all the scientists elected to your elite ranks are volunteers — which is fortunate because we have no money anyway. (Laughter.) For 150 years, you’ve strived to answer big questions, solve tough problems, not for yourselves but for the benefit of the nation. And that legacy has endured from the Academy’s founding days. And when you look at our history, you’ve stepped up at times of enormous need and, in some cases, great peril.

When Woodrow Wilson needed help understanding the science of military preparedness, he asked the Academy’s eminent scientists to lay it out for him. When George W. Bush, more recently, wanted to study the long-term health effects of traumatic brain injuries suffered by soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, he set your scholars to the task. Today, my administration relies on your expertise to answer critical questions like: How do we set our priorities for research? How can we get the most out of the nanotechnology revolution? What are the underlying causes of gun violence?

And more important than any single study or report, the members of this institution embody what is so necessary for us to continue our scientific advance and to maintain our cutting-edge, and that’s restless curiosity and boundless hope, but also a fidelity to facts and truth, and a willingness to follow where the evidence leads.

And I’d like to acknowledge the other organizations that have been obviously very important in this whole process — the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine — all who’ve contributed similar leadership in maintaining the tradition, upholding the highest standard of science.

And, by the way, we do have colleagues in Congress who believe in science and believe in evidence. One of them is here, Congress Rush Holt. We’re very grateful to him for his outstanding work. (Applause.) And I want to thank many of the members of my administration, as well as PCAST, my — I always forget what exactly it stands for but — (laughter) — it’s my smart science people — (laughter) — who have contributed enormously to the work that we’re doing on a whole range of issues, from energy to advanced manufacturing, have really been extraordinary. I want to thank the members of my administration who are here as well who all are invested in making sure that we keep American science the best in the world.

Now, the good news is America remains a world leader in patents and scientific discovery. Our university system is the crown jewel of our economy as well as our civilization. And that’s what’s allowing us to continually replenish our stock of people who are willing to dream big dreams and reach higher than anybody else.

And what I want to communicate to all of you is, is that as long as I’m President, we’re going to continue to be committed to investing in the promising ideas that are generated from you and your institutions, because they lead to innovative products, they help boost our economy, but also because that’s who we are. I’m committed to it because that’s what makes us special and ultimately what makes life worth living.
And that’s why we’re pursuing “grand challenges” like making solar energy as cheap as coal, and building electric vehicles as affordable as the ones that run on gas. And earlier this month, I unveiled the BRAIN initiative, which will give scientists the tools that they need to get a dynamic picture of the brain in action, and better understand how we think and learn and remember.

Today, all around the country, scientists like you are developing therapies to regenerate damaged organs, creating new devices to enable brain-controlled prosthetic limbs, and sending sophisticated robots into space to search for signs of past life on Mars. That sense of wonder and that sense of discovery, it has practical application but it also nurtures what I believe is best in us.

And right now, we’re on the brink of amazing breakthroughs that have the chance, the potential to change life for the better — which is why we can’t afford to gut these investments in science and technology. Unfortunately, that’s what we’re facing right now. Because of the across-the-board cuts that Congress put in place — the sequester, as it’s known in Washington-speak — it’s hitting our scientific research. Instead of racing ahead on the next cutting-edge discovery, our scientists are left wondering if they’ll get to start any new projects, any new research projects at all over the next few years, which means that we could lose a year, two years of scientific research as a practical matter because of misguided priorities here in this town.

With the pace of technological innovation today, we can’t afford to stand still for a year or two years or three years. We’ve got to seize every opportunity we have to stay ahead. And we can’t let other countries win the race for ideas and technology of the future. And I say that, by the way, not out of just any nationalistic pride — although, obviously, that’s part of it — but it’s also because nobody does it better than we do when it’s adequately funded, when it’s adequately supported. And what we produce here ends up having benefits worldwide. We should be reaching for a level of private and public research and development investment that we haven’t seen since the height of the Space Race. That’s my goal.

And it’s not just resources. I mean, one of the things that I’ve tried to do over these last four years and will continue to do over the next four years is to make sure that we are promoting the integrity of our scientific process; that not just in the physical and life sciences, but also in fields like psychology and anthropology and economics and political science — all of which are sciences because scholars develop and test hypotheses and subject them to peer review — but in all the sciences, we’ve got to make sure that we are supporting the idea that they’re not subject to politics, that they’re not skewed by an agenda, that, as I said before, we make sure that we go where the evidence leads us. And that’s why we’ve got to keep investing in these sciences.

And what’s true of all sciences is that in order for us to maintain our edge, we’ve got to protect our rigorous peer review system and ensure that we only fund proposals that promise the biggest bang for taxpayer dollars. And I will keep working to make sure that our scientific research does not fall victim to political maneuvers or agendas that in some ways would impact on the integrity of the scientific process. That’s what’s going to maintain our standards of scientific excellence for years to come.

That’s why, by the way, one of the things that I’ve focused on as President is an all-hands-on-deck approach to the sciences, as well as technology and engineering and math. And that’s why we’re spending a lot of time focused on the next generation. With the help of John Holdren and everybody who’s working with my administration, we want to make sure that we are exciting young people around math and science and technology and computer science. We don’t want our kids just to be consumers of the amazing things that science generates; we want them to be producers as well. And we want to make sure that those who historically have not participated in the sciences as robustly — girls, members of minority groups here in this country — that they are encouraged as well.

We’ve got to make sure that we’re training great calculus and biology teachers, and encouraging students to keep up with their physics and chemistry classes. That includes Malia and Sasha. (Laughter.) It means teaching proper research methods and encouraging young people to challenge accepted knowledge. It means expanding and maintaining critical investments in biomedical research and helping innovators turn their discoveries into new businesses and products. And it means maintaining that spirit of discovery.

Last week, I got a chance to do one of my favorite things as President and that is — we started these White House Science Fairs. And these kids are remarkable. I mean, I know you guys were smart when you were their age, but — (laughter) — I might give them the edge. (Laughter.) I mean, you had young people who were converting algae into sustainable biofuels — that was one of my favorites because the young lady had — she kept the algae under her bed — and she had a whole lab, which meant that she had really supportive parents. (Laughter.) I pictured it bubbling out and starting to creep into the hallways. (Laughter.)
You had young people who were purifying water with bicycle-power-generated batteries. You had young people who had already devised faster and cheaper tests for cancer. These are 15, 16-year-olds.

They were all dreaming to grow up and be just like you — maybe with a little less gray hair — (laughter) — but they shared your passion. They shared that excitement. And what was interesting was not only did they share that sense of wonder and discovery, but they also shared this fundamental optimism that if you figured this stuff out, people’s lives would be better; that there were no inherent barriers to us solving the big problems that we face as long as we were diligent and focused and observant and curious.

And we’ve got to make sure that we’re supporting that next generation of dreamers and risk-takers — because if we are, things will be good. They leave me with extraordinary optimism. They leave me hopeful. They put a smile on my face. And I’m absolutely convinced that if this Academy and the successors who become members of this Academy are there at the center and the heart of our public debate, that we’ll be able to continue to use the innovation that powers our economy and improves our health, protects our environment and security, that makes us the envy of the world.

So I want to thank you on behalf of the American people. And I want to make sure that you know that you’ve got a strong supporter in the White House.

God bless you. God bless the United States of America. Thank you. (Applause.)

END
11:50 A.M. EDT

Happy Earth Day!

What will you do this Earth Day to make a difference? Educating yourself about climate change and energy is just one of the ways you can do your part to support a sustainable future for our planet and learn more about what you can do too.

We recommend Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change and other top resources on climate change and energy. Choose from these as well as a selection of eco-friendly gift items for yourself or your favorite environmentally conscious friend.

A special 25% Earth Day discount applies thru April 30, 2012. Use discount code EARTH when you order online. Discount may not be combined with any other special or applied to previous purchase.

Happy Earth Day!

 

America's Climate Choices

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America’s Climate Choices144 pages | Paperback | Price: $26.95Climate change is occurring. It is very likely caused by the emission of greenhouse gases from human activities, and poses significant risks for a range of human and natural systems. And these emissions continue to increase, which will result in further… [more]

Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change

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Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change276 pages | Paperback | Price: $44.95Climate change, driven by the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, poses serious, wide-ranging threats to human societies and natural ecosystems around the world. The largest overall source of greenhouse gas emissions is the burning… [more]

Advancing the Science of Climate Change

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Advancing the Science of Climate Change528 pages | Paperback | Price: $44.95Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for–and in many cases is already affecting–a broad range of human and natural systems. The compelling case for these conclusions is provided in Advancing the… [more]

Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change

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Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change292 pages | Paperback | Price: $44.95Across the United States, impacts of climate change are already evident. Heat waves have become more frequent and intense, cold extremes have become less frequent, and patterns of rainfall are likely changing. The proportion of precipitation that falls as… [more]

Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change

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Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change348 pages | Paperback | Price: $44.95Global climate change is one of America’s most significant long-term policy challenges. Human activity–especially the use of fossil fuels, industrial processes, livestock production, waste disposal, and land use change–is affecting global average… [more]

Climate Stabilization Targets

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Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia298 pages | Paperback | Price: $42.30Emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels have ushered in a new epoch where human activities will largely determine the evolution of Earth’s climate. Because carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is long lived, it can effectively lock the Earth… [more]

Himalayan Glaciers

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Himalayan Glaciers: Climate Change, Water Resources, and Water Security143 pages | Paperback | Price: $44.10Scientific evidence shows that most glaciers in South Asia’s Hindu Kush Himalayan region are retreating, but the consequences for the region’s water supply are unclear, this report finds. The Hindu Kush Himalayan region is the location of several of Asia’s… [more]

Water Reuse

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Water Reuse: Potential for Expanding the Nation’s Water Supply Through Reuse of Municipal Wastewater262 pages | Hardcover | Price: $57.60Expanding water reuse–the use of treated wastewater for beneficial purposes including irrigation, industrial uses, and drinking water augmentation–could significantly increase the nation’s total available water resources. Water Reuse presents a… [more]

Understanding Water Reuse

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Understanding Water Reuse: Potential for Expanding the Nation’s Water Supply Through Reuse of Municipal Wastewater (Pack of 5 Booklets)12 pages | Paperback | Price: $0.90In communities all around the world, water supplies are coming under increasing pressure as population growth, climate change, pollution, and changes in land use affect water quantity and quality. To address existing and anticipated water shortages, many… [more]

Ocean Acidification

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Ocean Acidification: A National Strategy to Meet the Challenges of a Changing Ocean175 pages | Paperback | Price: $28.80The ocean has absorbed a significant portion of all human-made carbon dioxide emissions. This benefits human society by moderating the rate of climate change, but also causes unprecedented changes to ocean chemistry. Carbon dioxide taken up by the ocean… [more]

A National Strategy for Advancing Climate Modeling

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A National Strategy for Advancing Climate Modeling294 pages | Paperback | Price: $55.80As climate change has pushed climate patterns outside of historic norms, the need for detailed projections is growing across all sectors, including agriculture, insurance, and emergency preparedness planning. A National Strategy for Advancing Climate… [more]

America's Energy Future

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America’s Energy Future: Technology and Transformation650 pages | Paperback | Price: $62.95For multi-user PDF licensing, please contact customer service.

Energy touches our lives in countless ways and its costs are felt when we fill up at the gas pump, pay our home heating bills, and… [more]

Renewable Fuel Standard

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Renewable Fuel Standard: Potential Economic and Environmental Effects of U.S. Biofuel Policy250 pages | Paperback | Price: $61.20In the United States, we have come to depend on plentiful and inexpensive energy to support our economy and lifestyles. In recent years, many questions have been raised regarding the sustainability of our current pattern of high consumption of nonrenewable… [more]

Real Prospects for Energy Efficiency in the United States

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Real Prospects for Energy Efficiency in the United States352 pages | Paperback | Price: $44.95For multi-user PDF licensing, please contact customer service.

America’s economy and lifestyles have been shaped by the low prices and availability of energy. In the last decade, however, the… [more]

Assessment of Fuel Economy Technologies for Light-Duty Vehicles

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Assessment of Fuel Economy Technologies for Light-Duty Vehicles260 pages | Paperback | Price: $54.00Various combinations of commercially available technologies could greatly reduce fuel consumption in passenger cars, sport-utility vehicles, minivans, and other light-duty vehicles without compromising vehicle performance or safety. Assessment of… [more]

Transitions to Alternative Transportation Technologies--A Focus on Hydrogen

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Transitions to Alternative Transportation Technologies–A Focus on Hydrogen142 pages | Paperback | Price: $35.10Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCVs) could alleviate the nation’s dependence on oil and reduce U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas. Industry-and government-sponsored research programs have made very impressive technical progress over… [more]

Transitions to Alternative Vehicles and Fuels

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Transitions to Alternative Vehicles and Fuels170 pages | Paperback | Price: $53.10For a century, almost all light-duty vehicles (LDVs) have been powered by internal combustion engines (ICEs) operating on petroleum fuels. Energy security concerns over petroleum imports and the effect of greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions on global climate are… [more]

Transitions to Alternative Transportation Technologies--Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles

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Transitions to Alternative Transportation Technologies–Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles70 pages | Paperback | Price: $27.00For multi-user PDF licensing, please contact customer service.

The nation has compelling reasons to reduce its consumption of oil and emissions of carbon dioxide. Plug-in hybrid electric… [more]

Climate Change: Evidence, Impacts, and Choices

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Climate Change: Evidence, Impacts, and Choices: Set of 2 Booklets, with DVD36 pages | Paperback | Price: $0.90What is climate? Climate is commonly thought of as the expected weather conditions at a given location over time. People know when they go to New York City in winter, they should take a heavy coat. When they visit the Pacific Northwest, they should take an… [more]

Related Resources:

America’s Climate Choices Video

Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change Video

Advancing the Science of Climate Change Video

Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change Video

Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change Video

More information on Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts Over Decades to Millennia

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Water Reuse: Potential for Expanding the Nation’s Water Supply through Reuse of Municipal Wastewater

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Happy Birthday Nicolaus Copernicus!

Happy 540th Birthday Nicolaus Copernicus!

To celebrate this landmark in science, we compiled our top space reports. Enjoy!

Eclipse

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Eclipse: The Celestial Phenomenon That Changed the Course of History492 pages | Hardcover | Price: $22.45Whether interpreted as an auspicious omen or a sentinel of doom, eclipses have had a profound effect upon our cultural development. Throughout recorded history, they have evoked consternation, fear, and dread�as well as awe and wonderment.

Ancient… [more]

Storms from the Sun

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Storms from the Sun: The Emerging Science of Space Weather256 pages | Not for SaleFrom the casual conversation starter to the 24-hour cable channels and Web sites devoted exclusively to the subject, everyone talks about weather. There�s even weather in space�and it�s causing major upsets to our modern technological world.

Space weather is… [more]

Severe Space Weather Events--Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts

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Severe Space Weather Events–Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts: A Workshop Report144 pages | Paperback | Price: $31.50The adverse effects of extreme space weather on modern technology–power grid outages, high-frequency communication blackouts, spacecraft anomalies–are well known and well documented, and the physical processes underlying space weather are also generally… [more]
Solar and Space Physics

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Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society454 pages | Paperback | Price: $60.30From the interior of the Sun, to the upper atmosphere and near-space environment of Earth, and outward to a region far beyond Pluto where the Sun’s influence wanes, advances during the past decade in space physics and solar physics–the disciplines NASA… [more]
The Effects of Solar Variability on Earth's Climate

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The Effects of Solar Variability on Earth’s Climate: A Workshop Report70 pages | Paperback | Price: $33.30On September 8-9, 2011, experts in solar physics, climate models, paleoclimatology, and atmospheric science assembled at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado for a workshop to consider the Sun’s variability over time and… [more]

The 2013 State of The Union Address

This year’s State of the Union address focused on topics such as energy, climate change, and early childhood education. The National Academies Press provides resources directly related to these national issues. The complete SOTU has been annotated below with various reports to provide guidance on the important issues covered in the address.

State of the Union 2013

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, fellow citizens:

Fifty-one years ago, John F. Kennedy declared to this Chamber that “the Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress… It is my task,” he said, “to report the State of the Union—to improve it is the task of us all.”

Tonight, thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, there is much progress to report. After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home. After years of grueling recession, our businesses have created over six million new jobs. We buy more American cars than we have in five years, and less foreign oil than we have in twenty. Our housing market is healing, our stock market is rebounding, and consumers, patients, and homeowners enjoy stronger protections than ever before.

Together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is stronger.

But we gather here knowing that there are millions of Americans whose hard work and dedication have not yet been rewarded. Our economy is adding jobs – but too many people still can’t find full-time employment. Corporate profits have rocketed to all-time highs – but for more than a decade, wages and incomes have barely budged.

It is our generation’s task, then, to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth – a rising, thriving middle class.

It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country – the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love.

It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few; that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative, and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation.

The American people don’t expect government to solve every problem. They don’t expect those of us in this chamber to agree on every issue. But they do expect us to put the nation’s interests before party. They do expect us to forge reasonable compromise where we can. For they know that America moves forward only when we do so together; and that the responsibility of improving this union remains the task of us all.

Our work must begin by making some basic decisions about our budget – decisions that will have a huge impact on the strength of our recovery.

Over the last few years, both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion – mostly through spending cuts, but also by raising tax rates on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. As a result, we are more than halfway towards the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists say we need to stabilize our finances.

Now we need to finish the job. And the question is, how?

The Federal Budget: Multiple ways to stabilize national debt

Choosing the Nation's Fiscal Future

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Choosing the Nation’s Fiscal Future268 pages | Paperback | Price: $48.55A mismatch between the federal government’s revenues and spending, now and in the foreseeable future, requires heavy borrowing, leading to a large and increasing federal debt. That increasing debt raises a serious challenge to all of the goals that various… [more]

In 2011, Congress passed a law saying that if both parties couldn’t agree on a plan to reach our deficit goal, about a trillion dollars’ worth of budget cuts would automatically go into effect this year. These sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts would jeopardize our military readiness. They’d devastate priorities like education, energy, and medical research. They would certainly slow our recovery, and cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs. That’s why Democrats, Republicans, business leaders, and economists have already said that these cuts, known here in Washington as “the sequester,” are a really bad idea.

Now, some in this Congress have proposed preventing only the defense cuts by making even bigger cuts to things like education and job training; Medicare and Social Security benefits.

That idea is even worse. Yes, the biggest driver of our long-term debt is the rising cost of health care for an aging population. And those of us who care deeply about programs like Medicare must embrace the need for modest reforms – otherwise, our retirement programs will crowd out the investments we need for our children, and jeopardize the promise of a secure retirement for future generations.

The U.S. Deficit and Aging Population: How the rising cost of health care for an aging population affects the U.S. economy

Aging and the Macroeconomy

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Aging and the Macroeconomy: Long-Term Implications of an Older Population256 pages | Paperback | Price: $44.10The United States is in the midst of a major demographic shift. In the coming decades, people aged 65 and over will make up an increasingly large percentage of the population: The ratio of people aged 65+ to people aged 20-64 will rise by 80%. This shift is… [more]
Medical Care Economic Risk

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Medical Care Economic Risk: Measuring Financial Vulnerability from Spending on Medical Care291 pages | Paperback | Price: $52.20The United States has seen major advances in medical care during the past decades, but access to care at an affordable cost is not universal. Many Americans lack health care insurance of any kind, and many others with insurance are nonetheless exposed to… [more]

But we can’t ask senior citizens and working families to shoulder the entire burden of deficit reduction while asking nothing more from the wealthiest and most powerful. We won’t grow the middle class simply by shifting the cost of health care or college onto families that are already struggling, or by forcing communities to lay off more teachers, cops, and firefighters. Most Americans – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents – understand that we can’t just cut our way to prosperity. They know that broad-based economic growth requires a balanced approach to deficit reduction, with spending cuts and revenue, and with everybody doing their fair share. And that’s the approach I offer tonight.

On Medicare, I’m prepared to enact reforms that will achieve the same amount of health care savings by the beginning of the next decade as the reforms proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission. Already, the Affordable Care Act is helping to slow the growth of health care costs. The reforms I’m proposing go even further. We’ll reduce taxpayer subsidies to prescription drug companies and ask more from the wealthiest seniors. We’ll bring down costs by changing the way our government pays for Medicare, because our medical bills shouldn’t be based on the number of tests ordered or days spent in the hospital – they should be based on the quality of care that our seniors receive. And I am open to additional reforms from both parties, so long as they don’t violate the guarantee of a secure retirement. Our government shouldn’t make promises we cannot keep – but we must keep the promises we’ve already made.

To hit the rest of our deficit reduction target, we should do what leaders in both parties have already suggested, and save hundreds of billions of dollars by getting rid of tax loopholes and deductions for the well-off and well-connected. After all, why would we choose to make deeper cuts to education and Medicare just to protect special interest tax breaks? How is that fair? How does that promote growth?

Now is our best chance for bipartisan, comprehensive tax reform that encourages job creation and helps bring down the deficit. The American people deserve a tax code that helps small businesses spend less time filling out complicated forms, and more time expanding and hiring; a tax code that ensures billionaires with high-powered accountants can’t pay a lower rate than their hard-working secretaries; a tax code that lowers incentives to move jobs overseas, and lowers tax rates for businesses and manufacturers that create jobs right here in America. That’s what tax reform can deliver. That’s what we can do together.

I realize that tax reform and entitlement reform won’t be easy. The politics will be hard for both sides. None of us will get 100 percent of what we want. But the alternative will cost us jobs, hurt our economy, and visit hardship on millions of hardworking Americans. So let’s set party interests aside, and work to pass a budget that replaces reckless cuts with smart savings and wise investments in our future. And let’s do it without the brinksmanship that stresses consumers and scares off investors. The greatest nation on Earth cannot keep conducting its business by drifting from one manufactured crisis to the next. Let’s agree, right here, right now, to keep the people’s government open, pay our bills on time, and always uphold the full faith and credit of the United States of America. The American people have worked too hard, for too long, rebuilding from one crisis to see their elected officials cause another.

Now, most of us agree that a plan to reduce the deficit must be part of our agenda. But let’s be clear: deficit reduction alone is not an economic plan. A growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs – that must be the North Star that guides our efforts. Every day, we should ask ourselves three questions as a nation: How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills needed to do those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?

The U.S. Economy: How to revitalize the economy and secure a more prosperous future

Rising Above the Gathering Storm

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Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future592 pages | Not for SaleIn a world where advanced knowledge is widespread and low-cost labor is readily available, U.S. advantages in the marketplace and in science and technology have begun to erode. A comprehensive and coordinated federal effort is urgently needed to bolster U.S…. [more]
Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited

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Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5104 pages | Paperback | Price: $17.95In the face of so many daunting near-term challenges, U.S. government and industry are letting the crucial strategic issues of U.S. competitiveness slip below the surface. Five years ago, the National Academies prepared Rising Above the Gathering… [more]
Rising Above the Gathering Storm

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Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Developing Regional Innovation Environments: A Workshop Summary60 pages | Paperback | Price: $29.70In October 2005, the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine released a policy report that served as a call to action. The report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a… [more]

A year and a half ago, I put forward an American Jobs Act that independent economists said would create more than one million new jobs. I thank the last Congress for passing some of that agenda, and I urge this Congress to pass the rest. Tonight, I’ll lay out additional proposals that are fully paid for and fully consistent with the budget framework both parties agreed to just 18 months ago. Let me repeat – nothing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime. It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth.

Our first priority is making America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing.

After shedding jobs for more than 10 years, our manufacturers have added about 500,000 jobs over the past three. Caterpillar is bringing jobs back from Japan. Ford is bringing jobs back from Mexico. After locating plants in other countries like China, Intel is opening its most advanced plant right here at home. And this year, Apple will start making Macs in America again.

There are things we can do, right now, to accelerate this trend. Last year, we created our first manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio. A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering the 3D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything. There’s no reason this can’t happen in other towns. So tonight, I’m announcing the launch of three more of these manufacturing hubs, where businesses will partner with the Departments of Defense and Energy to turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs. And I ask this Congress to help create a network of fifteen of these hubs and guarantee that the next revolution in manufacturing is Made in America.

U.S. Innovation: How innovation can drive the U.S. economy

Optics and Photonics

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Optics and Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation280 pages | Paperback | Price: $58.50Optics and photonics technologies are ubiquitous: they are responsible for the displays on smart phones and computing devices, optical fiber that carries the information in the internet, advanced precision manufacturing, enhanced defense capabilities, and a… [more]
Building the Ohio Innovation Economy

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Building the Ohio Innovation Economy: Summary of a Symposium203 pages | Paperback | Price: $41.40Since 1991, the National Research Council, under the auspices of the Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy, has undertaken a program of activities to improve policymakers’ understandings of the interconnections of science, technology, and economic… [more]
Making Value

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Making Value: Integrating Manufacturing, Design, and Innovation to Thrive in the Changing Global Economy52 pages | Paperback | Price: $25.20Manufacturing is in a period of dramatic transformation. But in the United States, public and political dialogue is simplistically focused almost entirely on the movement of certain manufacturing jobs overseas to low-wage countries. The true picture is much… [more]

If we want to make the best products, we also have to invest in the best ideas. Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy. Today, our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer’s; developing drugs to regenerate damaged organs; devising new material to make batteries ten times more powerful. Now is not the time to gut these job-creating investments in science and innovation. Now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race. And today, no area holds more promise than our investments in American energy.

After years of talking about it, we are finally poised to control our own energy future. We produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years. We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas, and the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar – with tens of thousands of good, American jobs to show for it. We produce more natural gas than ever before – and nearly everyone’s energy bill is lower because of it. And over the last four years, our emissions of the dangerous carbon pollution that threatens our planet have actually fallen.

The Future of Energy in the U.S.: Fuel efficiency, alternative energy sources, and the impact of technology on energy independence.

Real Prospects for Energy Efficiency in the United States

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Real Prospects for Energy Efficiency in the United States352 pages | Paperback | Price: $44.95For multi-user PDF licensing, please contact customer service.
America’s economy and lifestyles have been shaped by the low prices and availability of energy. In the last decade, however, the… [more]
America's Energy Future

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America’s Energy Future: Technology and Transformation650 pages | Paperback | Price: $62.95For multi-user PDF licensing, please contact customer service.
Energy touches our lives in countless ways and its costs are felt when we fill up at the gas pump, pay our home heating bills, and… [more]
Sustainable Development of Algal Biofuels in the United States

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Sustainable Development of Algal Biofuels in the United States231 pages | Paperback | Price: $57.60Biofuels made from algae are gaining attention as a domestic source of renewable fuel. However, with current technologies, scaling up production of algal biofuels to meet even 5 percent of U.S. transportation fuel needs could create unsustainable demands for… [more]
Assessment of Fuel Economy Technologies for Light-Duty Vehicles

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Assessment of Fuel Economy Technologies for Light-Duty Vehicles260 pages | Paperback | Price: $54.00Various combinations of commercially available technologies could greatly reduce fuel consumption in passenger cars, sport-utility vehicles, minivans, and other light-duty vehicles without compromising vehicle performance or safety. Assessment of… [more]
Renewable Fuel Standard

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Renewable Fuel Standard: Potential Economic and Environmental Effects of U.S. Biofuel Policy250 pages | Paperback | Price: $61.20In the United States, we have come to depend on plentiful and inexpensive energy to support our economy and lifestyles. In recent years, many questions have been raised regarding the sustainability of our current pattern of high consumption of nonrenewable… [more]
Hidden Costs of Energy

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Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use506 pages | Paperback | Price: $42.30Despite the many benefits of energy, most of which are reflected in energy market prices, the production, distribution, and use of energy causes negative effects. Many of these negative effects are not reflected in energy market prices. When market failures like… [more]
Assessment of Advanced Solid State Lighting

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Assessment of Advanced Solid State Lighting191 pages | Paperback | Price: $41.40The standard incandescent light bulb, which still works mainly as Thomas Edison invented it, converts more than 90% of the consumed electricity into heat. Given the availability of newer lighting technologies that convert a greater percentage of electricity… [more]

But for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. Yes, it’s true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods – all are now more frequent and intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science – and act before it’s too late.

Climate Change: measuring the threats to the U.S. and guiding the nation’s response.

America's Climate Choices

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America’s Climate Choices144 pages | Paperback | Price: $26.95Climate change is occurring. It is very likely caused by the emission of greenhouse gases from human activities, and poses significant risks for a range of human and natural systems. And these emissions continue to increase, which will result in further… [more]
Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change

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Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change276 pages | Paperback | Price: $44.95Climate change, driven by the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, poses serious, wide-ranging threats to human societies and natural ecosystems around the world. The largest overall source of greenhouse gas emissions is the burning… [more]
Advancing the Science of Climate Change

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Advancing the Science of Climate Change528 pages | Paperback | Price: $44.95Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for–and in many cases is already affecting–a broad range of human and natural systems. The compelling case for these conclusions is provided in Advancing the… [more]
Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change

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Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change292 pages | Paperback | Price: $44.95Across the United States, impacts of climate change are already evident. Heat waves have become more frequent and intense, cold extremes have become less frequent, and patterns of rainfall are likely changing. The proportion of precipitation that falls as… [more]
Climate Stabilization Targets

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Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia298 pages | Paperback | Price: $42.30Emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels have ushered in a new epoch where human activities will largely determine the evolution of Earth’s climate. Because carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is long lived, it can effectively lock the Earth… [more]
Sea-Level Rise for the Coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington

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Sea-Level Rise for the Coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington: Past, Present, and Future201 pages | Paperback | Price: $48.60Tide gages show that global sea level has risen about 7 inches during the 20th century, and recent satellite data show that the rate of sea-level rise is accelerating. As Earth warms, sea levels are rising mainly because ocean water expands as it warms; and… [more]

The good news is, we can make meaningful progress on this issue while driving strong economic growth. I urge this Congress to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago. But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.

Four years ago, other countries dominated the clean energy market and the jobs that came with it. We’ve begun to change that. Last year, wind energy added nearly half of all new power capacity in America. So let’s generate even more. Solar energy gets cheaper by the year – so let’s drive costs down even further. As long as countries like China keep going all-in on clean energy, so must we.

In the meantime, the natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. That’s why my Administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits. But I also want to work with this Congress to encourage the research and technology that helps natural gas burn even cleaner and protects our air and water.

Indeed, much of our new-found energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together. So tonight, I propose we use some of our oil and gas revenues to fund an Energy Security Trust that will drive new research and technology to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good. If a non-partisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and admirals can get behind this idea, then so can we. Let’s take their advice and free our families and businesses from the painful spikes in gas prices we’ve put up with for far too long. I’m also issuing a new goal for America: let’s cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next twenty years. The states with the best ideas to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings will receive federal support to help make it happen.

America’s energy sector is just one part of an aging infrastructure badly in need of repair. Ask any CEO where they’d rather locate and hire: a country with deteriorating roads and bridges, or one with high-speed rail and internet; high-tech schools and self-healing power grids. The CEO of Siemens America – a company that brought hundreds of new jobs to North Carolina – has said that if we upgrade our infrastructure, they’ll bring even more jobs. And I know that you want these job-creating projects in your districts. I’ve seen you all at the ribbon-cuttings.

Tonight, I propose a “Fix-It-First” program to put people to work as soon as possible on our most urgent repairs, like the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country. And to make sure taxpayers don’t shoulder the whole burden, I’m also proposing a Partnership to Rebuild America that attracts private capital to upgrade what our businesses need most: modern ports to move our goods; modern pipelines to withstand a storm; modern schools worthy of our children. Let’s prove that there is no better place to do business than the United States of America. And let’s start right away.

Part of our rebuilding effort must also involve our housing sector. Today, our housing market is finally healing from the collapse of 2007. Home prices are rising at the fastest pace in six years, home purchases are up nearly 50 percent, and construction is expanding again.

But even with mortgage rates near a 50-year low, too many families with solid credit who want to buy a home are being rejected. Too many families who have never missed a payment and want to refinance are being told no. That’s holding our entire economy back, and we need to fix it. Right now, there’s a bill in this Congress that would give every responsible homeowner in America the chance to save $3,000 a year by refinancing at today’s rates. Democrats and Republicans have supported it before. What are we waiting for? Take a vote, and send me that bill. Right now, overlapping regulations keep responsible young families from buying their first home. What’s holding us back? Let’s streamline the process, and help our economy grow.

These initiatives in manufacturing, energy, infrastructure, and housing will help entrepreneurs and small business owners expand and create new jobs. But none of it will matter unless we also equip our citizens with the skills and training to fill those jobs. And that has to start at the earliest possible age.

Study after study shows that the sooner a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road. But today, fewer than 3 in 10 four year-olds are enrolled in a high-quality preschool program. Most middle-class parents can’t afford a few hundred bucks a week for private preschool. And for poor kids who need help the most, this lack of access to preschool education can shadow them for the rest of their lives.

Tonight, I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America. Every dollar we invest in high-quality early education can save more than seven dollars later on – by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime. In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children, like Georgia or Oklahoma, studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, and form more stable families of their own. So let’s do what works, and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind. Let’s give our kids that chance.

Early Childhood Education: The science of early childhood development and workforce needs to ensure quality and efficacy.

Mathematics Learning in Early Childhood

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Mathematics Learning in Early Childhood: Paths Toward Excellence and Equity398 pages | Hardcover | Price: $49.45Early childhood mathematics is vitally important for young children’s present and future educational success. Research demonstrates that virtually all young children have the capability to learn and become competent in mathematics. Furthermore, young… [more]
From Neurons to Neighborhoods

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From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development612 pages | Hardcover | Price: $40.45How we raise young children is one of today’s most highly personalized and sharply politicized issues, in part because each of us can claim some level of “expertise.” The debate has intensified as discoveries about our development-in the womb and in the first… [more]
Eager to Learn

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Eager to Learn: Educating Our Preschoolers468 pages | Hardcover | Price: $34.15Clearly babies come into the world remarkably receptive to its wonders. Their alertness to sights, sounds, and even abstract concepts makes them inquisitive explorers–and learners–every waking minute. Well before formal schooling begins, children’s early… [more]
Early Childhood Assessment

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Early Childhood Assessment: Why, What, and How520 pages | Hardcover | Price: $53.95The assessment of young children’s development and learning has recently taken on new importance. Private and government organizations are developing programs to enhance the school readiness of all young children, especially children from economically… [more]
The Early Childhood Care and Education Workforce

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The Early Childhood Care and Education Workforce: Challenges and Opportunities: A Workshop Report224 pages | Paperback | Price: $42.30Early childhood care and education (ECCE) settings offer an opportunity to provide children with a solid beginning in all areas of their development. The quality and efficacy of these settings depend largely on the individuals within the ECCE workforce…. [more]

Let’s also make sure that a high school diploma puts our kids on a path to a good job. Right now, countries like Germany focus on graduating their high school students with the equivalent of a technical degree from one of our community colleges, so that they’re ready for a job. At schools like P-Tech in Brooklyn, a collaboration between New York Public Schools, the City University of New York, and IBM, students will graduate with a high school diploma and an associate degree in computers or engineering.

We need to give every American student opportunities like this. Four years ago, we started Race to the Top – a competition that convinced almost every state to develop smarter curricula and higher standards, for about 1 percent of what we spend on education each year. Tonight, I’m announcing a new challenge to redesign America’s high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy. We’ll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math – the skills today’s employers are looking for to fill jobs right now and in the future.

Education in America: The latest recommendations for STEM Education, the importance of key skills to increase deeper learning for life and work, and how STEM education plays an important role in improving the nation’s economy.

A Framework for K-12 Science Education

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A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas400 pages | Paperback | Price: $35.95Science, engineering, and technology permeate nearly every facet of modern life and hold the key to solving many of humanity’s most pressing current and future challenges. The United States’ position in the global economy is declining, in part because U.S…. [more]
Successful K-12 STEM Education

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Successful K-12 STEM Education: Identifying Effective Approaches in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics44 pages | Paperback | Price: $11.65Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are cultural achievements that reflect our humanity, power our economy, and constitute fundamental aspects of our lives as citizens, consumers, parents, and members of the workforce. Providing all… [more]
Education for Life and Work

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Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century242 pages | Paperback | Price: $44.95Americans have long recognized that investments in public education contribute to the common good, enhancing national prosperity and supporting stable families, neighborhoods, and communities. Education is even more critical today, in the face of economic,… [more]

Now, even with better high schools, most young people will need some higher education. It’s a simple fact: the more education you have, the more likely you are to have a job and work your way into the middle class. But today, skyrocketing costs price way too many young people out of a higher education, or saddle them with unsustainable debt.

Through tax credits, grants, and better loans, we have made college more affordable for millions of students and families over the last few years. But taxpayers cannot continue to subsidize the soaring cost of higher education. Colleges must do their part to keep costs down, and it’s our job to make sure they do. Tonight, I ask Congress to change the Higher Education Act, so that affordability and value are included in determining which colleges receive certain types of federal aid. And tomorrow, my Administration will release a new “College Scorecard” that parents and students can use to compare schools based on a simple criteria: where you can get the most bang for your educational buck.

To grow our middle class, our citizens must have access to the education and training that today’s jobs require. But we also have to make sure that America remains a place where everyone who’s willing to work hard has the chance to get ahead.

Higher Education: An affordable, quality college education to prepare our future workforce

Improving Measurement of Productivity in Higher Education

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Improving Measurement of Productivity in Higher Education210 pages | Paperback | Price: $42.30Higher education is a linchpin of the American economy and society: teaching and research at colleges and universities contribute significantly to the nation’s economic activity, both directly and through their impact on future growth; federal and state… [more]
Research Universities and the Future of America

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Research Universities and the Future of America: Ten Breakthrough Actions Vital to Our Nation’s Prosperity and Security250 pages | Paperback | Price: $44.10Research Universities and the Future of America presents critically important strategies for ensuring that our nation’s research universities contribute strongly to America’s prosperity, security, and national goals. Widely considered the best… [more]
Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation

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Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads286 pages | Paperback | Price: $36.00In order for the United States to maintain the global leadership and competitiveness in science and technology that are critical to achieving national goals, we must invest in research, encourage innovation, and grow a strong and talented science and… [more]

Real reform means strong border security, and we can build on the progress my Administration has already made – putting more boots on the southern border than at any time in our history, and reducing illegal crossings to their lowest levels in 40 years.

Real reform means establishing a responsible pathway to earned citizenship – a path that includes passing a background check, paying taxes and a meaningful penalty, learning English, and going to the back of the line behind the folks trying to come here legally.

And real reform means fixing the legal immigration system to cut waiting periods, reduce bureaucracy, and attract the highly-skilled entrepreneurs and engineers that will help create jobs and grow our economy.

In other words, we know what needs to be done. As we speak, bipartisan groups in both chambers are working diligently to draft a bill, and I applaud their efforts. Now let’s get this done. Send me a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the next few months, and I will sign it right away.

Immigration: The Road to Immigration Reform: the future of immigration enforcements, policies surrounding international students in the US, and how Hispanics are contributing to the nation’s future.

Budgeting for Immigration Enforcement

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Budgeting for Immigration Enforcement: A Path to Better Performance125 pages | Paperback | Price: $39.60Immigration enforcement is carried out by a complex legal and administrative system, operating under frequently changing legislative mandates and policy guidance, with authority and funding spread across several agencies in two executive departments and the… [more]
Options for Estimating Illegal Entries at the U.S.-Mexico Border

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Options for Estimating Illegal Entries at the U.S.-Mexico Border160 pages | Paperback | Price: $37.80The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is responsible for securing and managing the nation’s borders. Over the past decade, DHS has dramatically stepped up its enforcement efforts at the U.S.-Mexico border, increasing the number of U.S. Border patrol… [more]
Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners

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Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners140 pages | Paperback | Price: $31.05As the United States continues to be a nation of immigrants and their children, the nation’s school systems face increased enrollments of students whose primary language is not English. With the 2001 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education… [more]

But we can’t stop there. We know our economy is stronger when our wives, mothers, and daughters can live their lives free from discrimination in the workplace, and free from the fear of domestic violence. Today, the Senate passed the Violence Against Women Act that Joe Biden originally wrote almost 20 years ago. I urge the House to do the same. And I ask this Congress to declare that women should earn a living equal to their efforts, and finally pass the Paycheck Fairness Act this year.

Women and the US Economy: Addressing discrimination and violence

Preventing Violence Against Women and Children

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Preventing Violence Against Women and Children: Workshop Summary236 pages | Paperback | Price: $48.60Violence against women and children is a serious public health concern, with costs at multiple levels of society. Although violence is a threat to everyone, women and children are particularly susceptible to victimization because they often have fewer rights… [more]
Contagion of Violence

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Contagion of Violence: Workshop Summary171 pages | Paperback | Price: $40.50The past 25 years have seen a major paradigm shift in the field of violence prevention, from the assumption that violence is inevitable to the recognition that violence is preventable. Part of this shift has occurred in thinking about why violence occurs, and… [more]
Beyond Bias and Barriers

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Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering348 pages | Hardcover | Price: $45.85The United States economy relies on the productivity, entrepreneurship, and creativity of its people. To maintain its scientific and engineering leadership amid increasing economic and educational globalization, the United States must aggressively pursue the… [more]

We know our economy is stronger when we reward an honest day’s work with honest wages. But today, a full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $14,500 a year. Even with the tax relief we’ve put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That’s wrong. That’s why, since the last time this Congress raised the minimum wage, nineteen states have chosen to bump theirs even higher.

Tonight, let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour. This single step would raise the incomes of millions of working families. It could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank; rent or eviction; scraping by or finally getting ahead. For businesses across the country, it would mean customers with more money in their pockets. In fact, working folks shouldn’t have to wait year after year for the minimum wage to go up while CEO pay has never been higher. So here’s an idea that Governor Romney and I actually agreed on last year: let’s tie the minimum wage to the cost of living, so that it finally becomes a wage you can live on.

Poverty in the US: Concepts and procedures for deriving the poverty threshold

Measuring Poverty

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Measuring Poverty: A New Approach536 pages | Hardcover | Price: $49.45Each year’s poverty figures are anxiously awaited by policymakers, analysts, and the media. Yet questions are increasing about the 30-year-old measure as social and economic conditions change.
In Measuring Poverty a distinguished panel provides… [more]

Tonight, let’s also recognize that there are communities in this country where no matter how hard you work, it’s virtually impossible to get ahead. Factory towns decimated from years of plants packing up. Inescapable pockets of poverty, urban and rural, where young adults are still fighting for their first job. America is not a place where chance of birth or circumstance should decide our destiny. And that is why we need to build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class for all who are willing to climb them.

Let’s offer incentives to companies that hire Americans who’ve got what it takes to fill that job opening, but have been out of work so long that no one will give them a chance. Let’s put people back to work rebuilding vacant homes in run-down neighborhoods. And this year, my Administration will begin to partner with 20 of the hardest-hit towns in America to get these communities back on their feet. We’ll work with local leaders to target resources at public safety, education, and housing. We’ll give new tax credits to businesses that hire and invest. And we’ll work to strengthen families by removing the financial deterrents to marriage for low-income couples, and doing more to encourage fatherhood – because what makes you a man isn’t the ability to conceive a child; it’s having the courage to raise one.

Stronger families. Stronger communities. A stronger America. It is this kind of prosperity – broad, shared, and built on a thriving middle class – that has always been the source of our progress at home. It is also the foundation of our power and influence throughout the world.

Tonight, we stand united in saluting the troops and civilians who sacrifice every day to protect us. Because of them, we can say with confidence that America will complete its mission in Afghanistan, and achieve our objective of defeating the core of al Qaeda. Already, we have brought home 33,000 of our brave servicemen and women. This spring, our forces will move into a support role, while Afghan security forces take the lead. Tonight, I can announce that over the next year, another 34,000 American troops will come home from Afghanistan. This drawdown will continue. And by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over.

Veterans: Health and readjustment needs of veterans

Returning Home from Iraq and Afghanistan

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Returning Home from Iraq and Afghanistan: Preliminary Assessment of Readjustment Needs of Veterans, Service Members, and Their Families192 pages | Paperback | Price: $38.92Nearly 1.9 million U.S. troops have been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq since October 2001. Many service members and veterans face serious challenges in readjusting to normal life after returning home. This initial book presents findings on the most… [more]
Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

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Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: An Assessment of the Evidence224 pages | Paperback | Price: $43.87Mental disorders, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), constitute an important health care need of veterans, especially those recently separated from service. Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: An Assessment of the Evidence takes a… [more]
Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy for Traumatic Brain Injury

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Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy for Traumatic Brain Injury: Evaluating the Evidence280 pages | Paperback | Price: $52.42Traumatic brain injury (TBI) may affect 10 million people worldwide. It is considered the “signature wound” of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. These injuries result from a bump or blow to the head, or from external forces that cause the brain to move… [more]
Long-Term Health Consequences of Exposure to Burn Pits in Iraq and Afghanistan

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Long-Term Health Consequences of Exposure to Burn Pits in Iraq and Afghanistan192 pages | Paperback | Price: $40.50Many veterans returning from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have health problems they believe are related to their exposure to the smoke from the burning of waste in open-air “burn pits” on military bases. Particular controversy surrounds the burn pit… [more]

Beyond 2014, America’s commitment to a unified and sovereign Afghanistan will endure, but the nature of our commitment will change. We are negotiating an agreement with the Afghan government that focuses on two missions: training and equipping Afghan forces so that the country does not again slip into chaos, and counter-terrorism efforts that allow us to pursue the remnants of al Qaeda and their affiliates.

Today, the organization that attacked us on 9/11 is a shadow of its former self. Different al Qaeda affiliates and extremist groups have emerged – from the Arabian Peninsula to Africa. The threat these groups pose is evolving. But to meet this threat, we don’t need to send tens of thousands of our sons and daughters abroad, or occupy other nations. Instead, we will need to help countries like Yemen, Libya, and Somalia provide for their own security, and help allies who take the fight to terrorists, as we have in Mali. And, where necessary, through a range of capabilities, we will continue to take direct action against those terrorists who pose the gravest threat to Americans.

As we do, we must enlist our values in the fight. That is why my Administration has worked tirelessly to forge a durable legal and policy framework to guide our counterterrorism operations. Throughout, we have kept Congress fully informed of our efforts. I recognize that in our democracy, no one should just take my word that we’re doing things the right way. So, in the months ahead, I will continue to engage with Congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention, and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances, but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world.

Of course, our challenges don’t end with al Qaeda. America will continue to lead the effort to prevent the spread of the world’s most dangerous weapons. The regime in North Korea must know that they will only achieve security and prosperity by meeting their international obligations. Provocations of the sort we saw last night will only isolate them further, as we stand by our allies, strengthen our own missile defense, and lead the world in taking firm action in response to these threats.

Likewise, the leaders of Iran must recognize that now is the time for a diplomatic solution, because a coalition stands united in demanding that they meet their obligations, and we will do what is necessary to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon. At the same time, we will engage Russia to seek further reductions in our nuclear arsenals, and continue leading the global effort to secure nuclear materials that could fall into the wrong hands – because our ability to influence others depends on our willingness to lead.

Ballistic Missile Defense: Cost-Effective Plan to Strengthen U.S. Defense Against Ballistic Missile Attacks

Making Sense of Ballistic Missile Defense

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Making Sense of Ballistic Missile Defense: An Assessment of Concepts and Systems for U.S. Boost-Phase Missile Defense in Comparison to Other Alternatives282 pages | Paperback | Price: $55.80The Committee on an Assessment of Concepts and Systems for U.S. Boost-Phase Missile Defense in Comparison to Other Alternatives set forth to provide an assessment of the feasibility, practicality, and affordability of U.S. boost-phase missile defense compared… [more]

America must also face the rapidly growing threat from cyber-attacks. We know hackers steal people’s identities and infiltrate private e-mail. We know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets. Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, and our air traffic control systems. We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy.

That’s why, earlier today, I signed a new executive order that will strengthen our cyber defenses by increasing information sharing, and developing standards to protect our national security, our jobs, and our privacy. Now, Congress must act as well, by passing legislation to give our government a greater capacity to secure our networks and deter attacks.

Cybersecurity: The technological, political, legal, and ethical considerations of securing cyberspace

Technology, Policy, Law, and Ethics Regarding U.S. Acquisition and Use of Cyberattack Capabilities

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Technology, Policy, Law, and Ethics Regarding U.S. Acquisition and Use of Cyberattack Capabilities390 pages | Paperback | Price: $44.10The United States is increasingly dependent on information and information technology for both civilian and military purposes, as are many other nations. Although there is a substantial literature on the potential impact of a cyberattack on the societal… [more]
Toward a Safer and More Secure Cyberspace

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Toward a Safer and More Secure Cyberspace328 pages | Paperback | Price: $51.30Given the growing importance of cyberspace to nearly all aspects of national life, a secure cyberspace is vitally important to the nation, but cyberspace is far from secure today. The United States faces the real risk that adversaries will exploit… [more]
Proceedings of a Workshop on Deterring Cyberattacks

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Proceedings of a Workshop on Deterring Cyberattacks: Informing Strategies and Developing Options for U.S. Policy400 pages | Paperback | Price: $70.65In a world of increasing dependence on information technology, the prevention of cyberattacks on a nation’s important computer and communications systems and networks is a problem that looms large. Given the demonstrated limitations of passive cybersecurity… [more]

Even as we protect our people, we should remember that today’s world presents not only dangers, but opportunities. To boost American exports, support American jobs, and level the playing field in the growing markets of Asia, we intend to complete negotiations on a Trans-Pacific Partnership. And tonight, I am announcing that we will launch talks on a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union – because trade that is free and fair across the Atlantic supports millions of good-paying American jobs.

We also know that progress in the most impoverished parts of our world enriches us all. In many places, people live on little more than a dollar a day. So the United States will join with our allies to eradicate such extreme poverty in the next two decades: by connecting more people to the global economy and empowering women; by giving our young and brightest minds new opportunities to serve and helping communities to feed, power, and educate themselves; by saving the world’s children from preventable deaths; and by realizing the promise of an AIDS-free generation.

Above all, America must remain a beacon to all who seek freedom during this period of historic change. I saw the power of hope last year in Rangoon – when Aung San Suu Kyi welcomed an American President into the home where she had been imprisoned for years; when thousands of Burmese lined the streets, waving American flags, including a man who said, “There is justice and law in the United States. I want our country to be like that.”

In defense of freedom, we will remain the anchor of strong alliances from the Americas to Africa; from Europe to Asia. In the Middle East, we will stand with citizens as they demand their universal rights, and support stable transitions to democracy. The process will be messy, and we cannot presume to dictate the course of change in countries like Egypt; but we can – and will – insist on respect for the fundamental rights of all people. We will keep the pressure on a Syrian regime that has murdered its own people, and support opposition leaders that respect the rights of every Syrian. And we will stand steadfast with Israel in pursuit of security and a lasting peace. These are the messages I will deliver when I travel to the Middle East next month.

Defending Freedom Abroad: Effective means to assist in building and strengthening democratic governance under varied conditions

Improving Democracy Assistance

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Improving Democracy Assistance: Building Knowledge Through Evaluations and Research336 pages | Paperback | Price: $60.97Over the past 25 years, the United States has made support for the spread of democracy to other nations an increasingly important element of its national security policy. These efforts have created a growing demand to find the most effective means to assist… [more]

All this work depends on the courage and sacrifice of those who serve in dangerous places at great personal risk – our diplomats, our intelligence officers, and the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. As long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we will do whatever we must to protect those who serve their country abroad, and we will maintain the best military in the world. We will invest in new capabilities, even as we reduce waste and wartime spending. We will ensure equal treatment for all service members, and equal benefits for their families – gay and straight. We will draw upon the courage and skills of our sisters and daughters, because women have proven under fire that they are ready for combat. We will keep faith with our veterans – investing in world-class care, including mental health care, for our wounded warriors; supporting our military families; and giving our veterans the benefits, education, and job opportunities they have earned. And I want to thank my wife Michelle and Dr. Jill Biden for their continued dedication to serving our military families as well as they serve us.

But defending our freedom is not the job of our military alone. We must all do our part to make sure our God-given rights are protected here at home. That includes our most fundamental right as citizens: the right to vote. When any Americans – no matter where they live or what their party – are denied that right simply because they can’t wait for five, six, seven hours just to cast their ballot, we are betraying our ideals. That’s why, tonight, I’m announcing a non-partisan commission to improve the voting experience in America. And I’m asking two long-time experts in the field, who’ve recently served as the top attorneys for my campaign and for Governor Romney’s campaign, to lead it. We can fix this, and we will. The American people demand it. And so does our democracy.

Voting: How electronic voting affects the voting experience

Asking the Right Questions About Electronic Voting

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Asking the Right Questions About Electronic Voting162 pages | Paperback | Price: $34.42Many election officials look to electronic voting systems as a means for improving their ability to more effectively conduct and administer elections. At the same time, many information technologists and activists have raised important concerns regarding the… [more]

Of course, what I’ve said tonight matters little if we don’t come together to protect our most precious resource – our children.

It has been two months since Newtown. I know this is not the first time this country has debated how to reduce gun violence. But this time is different. Overwhelming majorities of Americans – Americans who believe in the 2nd Amendment – have come together around commonsense reform – like background checks that will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun. Senators of both parties are working together on tough new laws to prevent anyone from buying guns for resale to criminals. Police chiefs are asking our help to get weapons of war and massive ammunition magazines off our streets, because they are tired of being outgunned.

Each of these proposals deserves a vote in Congress. If you want to vote no, that’s your choice. But these proposals deserve a vote. Because in the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun.

Gun Violence in America: The research behind gun control and ownership of firearms, the costs and indirect costs of violence, and how gun violence can be prevented.

Deadly Lessons

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Deadly Lessons: Understanding Lethal School Violence400 pages | Hardcover | Price: $35.95The shooting at Columbine High School riveted national attention on violence in the nation�s schools. This dramatic example signaled an implicit and growing fear that these events would continue to occur�and even escalate in scale and severity.How do… [more]
Contagion of Violence

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Contagion of Violence: Workshop Summary171 pages | Paperback | Price: $40.50The past 25 years have seen a major paradigm shift in the field of violence prevention, from the assumption that violence is inevitable to the recognition that violence is preventable. Part of this shift has occurred in thinking about why violence occurs, and… [more]
Social and Economic Costs of Violence

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Social and Economic Costs of Violence: Workshop Summary192 pages | Paperback | Price: $41.40Measuring the social and economic costs of violence can be difficult, and most estimates only consider direct economic effects, such as productivity loss or the use of health care services. Communities and societies feel the effects of violence through loss… [more]
Firearms and Violence

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Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review340 pages | Hardcover | Price: $43.15For years proposals for gun control and the ownership of firearms have been among the most contentious issues in American politics. For public authorities to make reasonable decisions on these matters, they must take into account facts about the relationship… [more]

One of those we lost was a young girl named Hadiya Pendleton. She was 15 years old. She loved Fig Newtons and lip gloss. She was a majorette. She was so good to her friends, they all thought they were her best friend. Just three weeks ago, she was here, in Washington, with her classmates, performing for her country at my inauguration. And a week later, she was shot and killed in a Chicago park after school, just a mile away from my house.

Hadiya’s parents, Nate and Cleo, are in this chamber tonight, along with more than two dozen Americans whose lives have been torn apart by gun violence. They deserve a vote.

Gabby Giffords deserves a vote.

The families of Newtown deserve a vote.

The families of Aurora deserve a vote.

The families of Oak Creek, and Tucson, and Blacksburg, and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence – they deserve a simple vote.

Our actions will not prevent every senseless act of violence in this country. Indeed, no laws, no initiatives, no administrative acts will perfectly solve all the challenges I’ve outlined tonight. But we were never sent here to be perfect. We were sent here to make what difference we can, to secure this nation, expand opportunity, and uphold our ideals through the hard, often frustrating, but absolutely necessary work of self-government.

We were sent here to look out for our fellow Americans the same way they look out for one another, every single day, usually without fanfare, all across this country. We should follow their example.

We should follow the example of a New York City nurse named Menchu Sanchez. When Hurricane Sandy plunged her hospital into darkness, her thoughts were not with how her own home was faring – they were with the twenty precious newborns in her care and the rescue plan she devised that kept them all safe.

We should follow the example of a North Miami woman named Desiline Victor. When she arrived at her polling place, she was told the wait to vote might be six hours. And as time ticked by, her concern was not with her tired body or aching feet, but whether folks like her would get to have their say. Hour after hour, a throng of people stayed in line in support of her. Because Desiline is 102 years old. And they erupted in cheers when she finally put on a sticker that read “I Voted.”

We should follow the example of a police officer named Brian Murphy. When a gunman opened fire on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, and Brian was the first to arrive, he did not consider his own safety. He fought back until help arrived, and ordered his fellow officers to protect the safety of the Americans worshiping inside – even as he lay bleeding from twelve bullet wounds.

When asked how he did that, Brian said, “That’s just the way we’re made.”

That’s just the way we’re made.

We may do different jobs, and wear different uniforms, and hold different views than the person beside us. But as Americans, we all share the same proud title:

We are citizens. It’s a word that doesn’t just describe our nationality or legal status. It describes the way we’re made. It describes what we believe. It captures the enduring idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations; that our rights are wrapped up in the rights of others; and that well into our third century as a nation, it remains the task of us all, as citizens of these United States, to be the authors of the next great chapter in our American story.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.