Tag Archives: energy

The NAP Guide to the 2015 State of the Union Address

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, my fellow Americans:

We are 15 years into this new century. Fifteen years that dawned with terror touching our shores; that unfolded with a new generation fighting two long and costly wars; that saw a vicious recession spread across our nation and the world. It has been, and still is, a hard time for many.

But tonight, we turn the page. Tonight, after a breakthrough year for America, our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999. Our unemployment rate is now lower than it was before the financial crisis. More of our kids are graduating than ever before. More of our people are insured than ever before. And we are as free from the grip of foreign oil as we’ve been in almost 30 years.

Tonight, for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in Afghanistan is over. Six years ago, nearly 180,000 American troops served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, fewer than 15,000 remain. And we salute the courage and sacrifice of every man and woman in this 9/11 Generation who has served to keep us safe. We are humbled and grateful for your service.

Returning Home from Iraq and Afghanistan: Assessment of Readjustment Needs of Veterans, Service Members, and Their Families (2013)


ISBN 978-0-309-26427-3

As of December 2012, Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) in Iraq have resulted in the deployment of about 2.2 million troops; there have been 2,222 US fatalities in OEF and Operation New Dawn (OND)1 …

[more]

Returning Home from Iraq and Afghanistan: Preliminary Assessment of Readjustment Needs of Veterans, Service Members, and Their Families (2010)


ISBN 978-0-309-14763-7

Nearly 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 …

[more]

America, for all that we have endured; for all the grit and hard work required to come back; for all the tasks that lie ahead, know this: The shadow of crisis has passed, and the State of the Union is strong.

At this moment — with a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, booming energy production — we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth. It’s now up to us to choose who we want to be over the next 15 years and for decades to come.

Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well? Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort?

Will we approach the world fearful and reactive, dragged into costly conflicts that strain our military and set back our standing? Or will we lead wisely, using all elements of our power to defeat new threats and protect our planet?

Will we allow ourselves to be sorted into factions and turned against one another? Or will we recapture the sense of common purpose that has always propelled America forward?

In two weeks, I will send this Congress a budget filled with ideas that are practical, not partisan. And in the months ahead, I’ll crisscross the country making a case for those ideas. So tonight, I want to focus less on a checklist of proposals, and focus more on the values at stake in the choices before us.

It begins with our economy. Seven years ago, Rebekah and Ben Erler of Minneapolis were newlyweds. She waited tables. He worked construction. Their first child, Jack, was on the way. They were young and in love in America. And it doesn’t get much better than that. “If only we had known,” Rebekah wrote to me last spring, “what was about to happen to the housing and construction market.”

As the crisis worsened, Ben’s business dried up, so he took what jobs he could find, even if they kept him on the road for long stretches of time. Rebekah took out student loans and enrolled in community college, and retrained for a new career. They sacrificed for each other. And slowly, it paid off. They bought their first home. They had a second son, Henry. Rebekah got a better job and then a raise. Ben is back in construction — and home for dinner every night.

“It is amazing,” Rebekah wrote, “what you can bounce back from when you have to…we are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times.” We are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times.

America, Rebekah and Ben’s story is our story. They represent the millions who have worked hard and scrimped, and sacrificed and retooled. You are the reason that I ran for this office. You are the people I was thinking of six years ago today, in the darkest months of the crisis, when I stood on the steps of this Capitol and promised we would rebuild our economy on a new foundation. And it has been your resilience, your effort that has made it possible for our country to emerge stronger.

We believed we could reverse the tide of outsourcing and draw new jobs to our shores. And over the past five years, our businesses have created more than 11 million new jobs.

We believed we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect our planet. And today, America is number one in oil and gas. America is number one in wind power. Every three weeks, we bring online as much solar power as we did in all of 2008. And thanks to lower gas prices and higher fuel standards, the typical family this year should save about $750 at the pump.

The Future of Photovoltaic Manufacturing in the United States (2011)


ISBN 978-0-309-14214-4

Technological innovation and growth are critical to U.S. competitiveness in a global economy. One means of facilitating growth and improving competitiveness is to foster more robust innovation ecosystems through the development of public-private …

[more]

Sustainable Development of Algal Biofuels in the United States (2012)


ISBN 978-0-309-26032-9

Biofuels 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 …

[more]

Electricity from Renewable Resources: Status, Prospects, and Impediments (2010)


ISBN 978-0-309-13708-9

A component in the America’s Energy Future study, Electricity from Renewable Resources examines the technical potential for electric power generation with alternative sources such as wind, solar-photovoltaic, geothermal, solar-thermal, …

[more]

We believed we could prepare our kids for a more competitive world. And today, our younger students have earned the highest math and reading scores on record. Our high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high. More Americans finish college than ever before.

We believed that sensible regulations could prevent another crisis, shield families from ruin, and encourage fair competition. Today, we have new tools to stop taxpayer-funded bailouts, and a new consumer watchdog to protect us from predatory lending and abusive credit card practices. And in the past year alone, about 10 million uninsured Americans finally gained the security of health coverage.

At every step, we were told our goals were misguided or too ambitious; that we would crush jobs and explode deficits. Instead, we’ve seen the fastest economic growth in over a decade, our deficits cut by two-thirds, a stock market that has doubled, and health care inflation at its lowest rate in 50 years. This is good news, people.

Choosing the Nation’s Fiscal Future (2010)


ISBN 978-0-309-14723-1

A 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 …

[more]

So the verdict is clear. Middle-class economics works. Expanding opportunity works. And these policies will continue to work as long as politics don’t get in the way. We can’t slow down businesses or put our economy at risk with government shutdowns or fiscal showdowns. We can’t put the security of families at risk by taking away their health insurance, or unraveling the new rules on Wall Street, or refighting past battles on immigration when we’ve got to fix a broken system. And if a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things, I will veto it. It will have earned my veto.

Today, thanks to a growing economy, the recovery is touching more and more lives. Wages are finally starting to rise again. We know that more small business owners plan to raise their employees’ pay than at any time since 2007. But here’s the thing: Those of us here tonight, we need to set our sights higher than just making sure government doesn’t screw things up; that government doesn’t halt the progress we’re making. We need to do more than just do no harm. Tonight, together, let’s do more to restore the link between hard work and growing opportunity for every American.

Because families like Rebekah’s still need our help. She and Ben are working as hard as ever, but they’ve had to forego vacations and a new car so that they can pay off student loans and save for retirement. Friday night pizza, that’s a big splurge. Basic childcare for Jack and Henry costs more than their mortgage, and almost as much as a year at the University of Minnesota. Like millions of hardworking Americans, Rebekah isn’t asking for a handout, but she is asking that we look for more ways to help families get ahead.

And in fact, at every moment of economic change throughout our history, this country has taken bold action to adapt to new circumstances and to make sure everyone gets a fair shot. We set up worker protections, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid to protect ourselves from the harshest adversity. We gave our citizens schools and colleges, infrastructure and the Internet — tools they needed to go as far as their effort and their dreams will take them.

That’s what middle-class economics is — the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, everyone plays by the same set of rules. We don’t just want everyone to share in America’s success, we want everyone to contribute to our success.

So what does middle-class economics require in our time?

First, middle-class economics means helping working families feel more secure in a world of constant change. That means helping folks afford childcare, college, health care, a home, retirement. And my budget will address each of these issues, lowering the taxes of working families and putting thousands of dollars back into their pockets each year.

Here’s one example. During World War II, when men like my grandfather went off to war, having women like my grandmother in the workforce was a national security priority — so this country provided universal childcare. In today’s economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality childcare more than ever.

It’s not a nice-to-have — it’s a must-have. So it’s time we stop treating childcare as a side issue, or as a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us. And that’s why my plan will make quality childcare more available and more affordable for every middle-class and low-income family with young children in America — by creating more slots and a new tax cut of up to $3,000 per child, per year.

Here’s another example. Today, we are the only advanced country on Earth that doesn’t guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers. Forty-three million workers have no paid sick leave — 43 million. Think about that. And that forces too many parents to make the gut-wrenching choice between a paycheck and a sick kid at home. So I’ll be taking new action to help states adopt paid leave laws of their own. And since paid sick leave won where it was on the ballot last November, let’s put it to a vote right here in Washington. Send me a bill that gives every worker in America the opportunity to earn seven days of paid sick leave. It’s the right thing to do. It’s the right thing to do.

Of course, nothing helps families make ends meet like higher wages. That’s why this Congress still needs to pass a law that makes sure a woman is paid the same as a man for doing the same work. It’s 2015. It’s time. We still need to make sure employees get the overtime they’ve earned. And to everyone in this Congress who still refuses to raise the minimum wage, I say this: If you truly believe you could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, try it. If not, vote to give millions of the hardest-working people in America a raise.

Now, these ideas won’t make everybody rich, won’t relieve every hardship. That’s not the job of government. To give working families a fair shot, we still need more employers to see beyond next quarter’s earnings and recognize that investing in their workforce is in their company’s long-term interest. We still need laws that strengthen rather than weaken unions, and give American workers a voice.

But you know, things like childcare and sick leave and equal pay; things like lower mortgage premiums and a higher minimum wage — these ideas will make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of families. That’s a fact. And that’s what all of us, Republicans and Democrats alike, were sent here to do.

Second, to make sure folks keep earning higher wages down the road, we have to do more to help Americans upgrade their skills. America thrived in the 20th century because we made high school free, sent a generation of GIs to college, trained the best workforce in the world. We were ahead of the curve. But other countries caught on. And in a 21st century economy that rewards knowledge like never before, we need to up our game. We need to do more.

Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century (2012)


ISBN 978-0-309-25649-0

Americans 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 …

[more]

Assessing 21st Century Skills: Summary of a Workshop (2011)


ISBN 978-0-309-21790-3

The routine jobs of yesterday are being replaced by technology and/or shipped off-shore. In their place, job categories that require knowledge management, abstract reasoning, and personal services seem to be growing. The modern workplace requires …

[more]

Envisioning A 21st Century Science and Engineering Workforce for the United States: Tasks for University, Industry, and Government (2003)


ISBN 978-0-309-08856-5

At the request of the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR), Shirley Ann Jackson, President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, presents in this brief paper her views of the challenges of the 21st century for the science and …

[more]

By the end of this decade, two in three job openings will require some higher education — two in three. And yet, we still live in a country where too many bright, striving Americans are priced out of the education they need. It’s not fair to them, and it’s sure not smart for our future. That’s why I’m sending this Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college — to zero.

Keep in mind 40 percent of our college students choose community college. Some are young and starting out. Some are older and looking for a better job. Some are veterans and single parents trying to transition back into the job market. Whoever you are, this plan is your chance to graduate ready for the new economy without a load of debt. Understand, you’ve got to earn it. You’ve got to keep your grades up and graduate on time.

Tennessee, a state with Republican leadership, and Chicago, a city with Democratic leadership, are showing that free community college is possible. I want to spread that idea all across America, so that two years of college becomes as free and universal in America as high school is today. Let’s stay ahead of the curve. And I want to work with this Congress to make sure those already burdened with student loans can reduce their monthly payments so that student debt doesn’t derail anyone’s dreams.

Thanks to Vice President Biden’s great work to update our job training system, we’re connecting community colleges with local employers to train workers to fill high-paying jobs like coding, and nursing, and robotics. Tonight, I’m also asking more businesses to follow the lead of companies like CVS and UPS, and offer more educational benefits and paid apprenticeships — opportunities that give workers the chance to earn higher-paying jobs even if they don’t have a higher education.

Community Colleges in the Evolving STEM Education Landscape: Summary of a Summit (2012)


ISBN 978-0-309-25654-4

The National Research Council (NRC) and National Academy of Engineering (NAE) have released a new report, Community Colleges in the Evolving STEM Education Landscape: Summary of a Summit. Based on a national summit that was supported by …

[more]

Enhancing the Community College Pathway to Engineering Careers (2005)


ISBN 978-0-309-09534-1

Community colleges play an important role in starting students on the road to engineering careers, but students often face obstacles in transferring to four-year educational institutions to continue their education. Enhancing the Community …

[more]

And as a new generation of veterans comes home, we owe them every opportunity to live the American Dream they helped defend. Already, we’ve made strides towards ensuring that every veteran has access to the highest quality care. We’re slashing the backlog that had too many veterans waiting years to get the benefits they need. And we’re making it easier for vets to translate their training and experience into civilian jobs. And Joining Forces, the national campaign launched by Michelle and Jill Biden — thank you, Michelle; thank you, Jill — has helped nearly 700,000 veterans and military spouses get a new job. So to every CEO in America, let me repeat: If you want somebody who’s going to get the job done and done right, hire a veteran.

Finally, as we better train our workers, we need the new economy to keep churning out high-wage jobs for our workers to fill. Since 2010, America has put more people back to work than Europe, Japan, and all advanced economies combined.

Our manufacturers have added almost 800,000 new jobs. Some of our bedrock sectors, like our auto industry, are booming. But there are also millions of Americans who work in jobs that didn’t even exist 10 or 20 years ago — jobs at companies like Google, and eBay, and Tesla.

So no one knows for certain which industries will generate the jobs of the future. But we do know we want them here in America. We know that. And that’s why the third part of middle-class economics is all about building the most competitive economy anywhere, the place where businesses want to locate and hire.

Making Value: Integrating Manufacturing, Design, and Innovation to Thrive in the Changing Global Economy (2012)


ISBN 978-0-309-26448-8

Manufacturing 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 …

[more]

Making Things: 21st Century Manufacturing and Design: Summary of a Forum (2012)


ISBN 978-0-309-22559-5

More than two decades ago, a commission of 17 MIT scientists and economists released a report, Made in America, which opened with the memorable phrase, “To live well, a nation must produce well.” Is that still true? Or can the United …

[more]

Envisioning A 21st Century Science and Engineering Workforce for the United States: Tasks for University, Industry, and Government (2003)


ISBN 978-0-309-08856-5

At the request of the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR), Shirley Ann Jackson, President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, presents in this brief paper her views of the challenges of the 21st century for the science and …

[more]

Twenty-first century businesses need 21st century infrastructure — modern ports, and stronger bridges, faster trains and the fastest Internet. Democrats and Republicans used to agree on this. So let’s set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline. Let’s pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan that could create more than 30 times as many jobs per year, and make this country stronger for decades to come. Let’s do it. Let’s get it done. Let’s get it done.

Twenty-first century businesses, including small businesses, need to sell more American products overseas. Today, our businesses export more than ever, and exporters tend to pay their workers higher wages. But as we speak, China wants to write the rules for the world’s fastest-growing region. That would put our workers and our businesses at a disadvantage. Why would we let that happen? We should write those rules. We should level the playing field. That’s why I’m asking both parties to give me trade promotion authority to protect American workers, with strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe that aren’t just free, but are also fair. It’s the right thing to do.

Look, I’m the first one to admit that past trade deals haven’t always lived up to the hype, and that’s why we’ve gone after countries that break the rules at our expense. But 95 percent of the world’s customers live outside our borders. We can’t close ourselves off from those opportunities. More than half of manufacturing executives have said they’re actively looking to bring jobs back from China. So let’s give them one more reason to get it done.

Optics and Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation (2013)


ISBN 978-0-309-26377-1

Optics 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 …

[more]

Assessment of Advanced Solid State Lighting (2013)


ISBN 978-0-309-27011-3

The 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 …

[more]

The Flexible Electronics Opportunity (2014)


ISBN 978-0-309-30591-4

Flexible electronics describes circuits that can bend and stretch, enabling significant versatility in applications and the prospect of low-cost manufacturing processes. They represent an important technological advance, in terms of their …

[more]

Twenty-first century businesses will rely on American science and technology, research and development. I want the country that eliminated polio and mapped the human genome to lead a new era of medicine — one that delivers the right treatment at the right time.

In some patients with cystic fibrosis, this approach has reversed a disease once thought unstoppable. So tonight, I’m launching a new Precision Medicine Initiative to bring us closer to curing diseases like cancer and diabetes, and to give all of us access to the personalized information we need to keep ourselves and our families healthier. We can do this.

Toward Precision Medicine: Building a Knowledge Network for Biomedical Research and a New Taxonomy of Disease (2011)


ISBN 978-0-309-22222-8

Motivated by the explosion of molecular data on humans-particularly data associated with individual patients-and the sense that there are large, as-yet-untapped opportunities to use this data to improve health outcomes, Toward Precision …

[more]

I intend to protect a free and open Internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community — and help folks build the fastest networks so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our world.

I want Americans to win the race for the kinds of discoveries that unleash new jobs — converting sunlight into liquid fuel; creating revolutionary prosthetics, so that a veteran who gave his arms for his country can play catch with his kids again. Pushing out into the solar system not just to visit, but to stay. Last month, we launched a new spacecraft as part of a reenergized space program that will send American astronauts to Mars. And in two months, to prepare us for those missions, Scott Kelly will begin a year-long stay in space. So good luck, Captain. Make sure to Instagram it. We’re proud of you.

Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration (2014)


ISBN 978-0-309-30507-5

The United States has publicly funded its human spaceflight program on a continuous basis for more than a half-century, through three wars and a half-dozen recessions, from the early Mercury and Gemini suborbital and Earth orbital missions, to …

[more]

Research for a Future in Space: The Role of Life and Physical Sciences (2012)


ISBN 978-0-309-30507-5

During its more than 50-year history, NASA’s success in human space exploration has depended on the agency’s ability to effectively address a wide range of biomedical, engineering, physical sciences, and related obstacles. This achievement is …

[more]

Now, the truth is, when it comes to issues like infrastructure and basic research, I know there’s bipartisan support in this chamber. Members of both parties have told me so. Where we too often run onto the rocks is how to pay for these investments. As Americans, we don’t mind paying our fair share of taxes as long as everybody else does, too. But for far too long, lobbyists have rigged the tax code with loopholes that let some corporations pay nothing while others pay full freight. They’ve riddled it with giveaways that the super-rich don’t need, while denying a break to middle-class families who do.

This year, we have an opportunity to change that. Let’s close loopholes so we stop rewarding companies that keep profits abroad, and reward those that invest here in America. Let’s use those savings to rebuild our infrastructure and to make it more attractive for companies to bring jobs home. Let’s simplify the system and let a small business owner file based on her actual bank statement, instead of the number of accountants she can afford. And let’s close the loopholes that lead to inequality by allowing the top one percent to avoid paying taxes on their accumulated wealth. We can use that money to help more families pay for childcare and send their kids to college. We need a tax code that truly helps working Americans trying to get a leg up in the new economy, and we can achieve that together. We can achieve it together.

Helping hardworking families make ends meet. Giving them the tools they need for good-paying jobs in this new economy. Maintaining the conditions of growth and competitiveness. This is where America needs to go. I believe it’s where the American people want to go. It will make our economy stronger a year from now, 15 years from now, and deep into the century ahead.

Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5 (2010)


ISBN 978-0-309-16097-1

In 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 …

[more]

Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future (2007)


ISBN 978-0-309-18758-9

In 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 …

[more]

Of course, if there’s one thing this new century has taught us, it’s that we cannot separate our work here at home from challenges beyond our shores.

My first duty as Commander-in-Chief is to defend the United States of America. In doing so, the question is not whether America leads in the world, but how. When we make rash decisions, reacting to the headlines instead of using our heads; when the first response to a challenge is to send in our military — then we risk getting drawn into unnecessary conflicts, and neglect the broader strategy we need for a safer, more prosperous world. That’s what our enemies want us to do.

I believe in a smarter kind of American leadership. We lead best when we combine military power with strong diplomacy; when we leverage our power with coalition building; when we don’t let our fears blind us to the opportunities that this new century presents. That’s exactly what we’re doing right now. And around the globe, it is making a difference.

First, we stand united with people around the world who have been targeted by terrorists — from a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris. We will continue to hunt down terrorists and dismantle their networks, and we reserve the right to act unilaterally, as we have done relentlessly since I took office to take out terrorists who pose a direct threat to us and our allies.

At the same time, we’ve learned some costly lessons over the last 13 years. Instead of Americans patrolling the valleys of Afghanistan, we’ve trained their security forces, who have now taken the lead, and we’ve honored our troops’ sacrifice by supporting that country’s first democratic transition. Instead of sending large ground forces overseas, we’re partnering with nations from South Asia to North Africa to deny safe haven to terrorists who threaten America.

In Iraq and Syria, American leadership — including our military power — is stopping ISIL’s advance. Instead of getting dragged into another ground war in the Middle East, we are leading a broad coalition, including Arab nations, to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group. We’re also supporting a moderate opposition in Syria that can help us in this effort, and assisting people everywhere who stand up to the bankrupt ideology of violent extremism.

Now, this effort will take time. It will require focus. But we will succeed. And tonight, I call on this Congress to show the world that we are united in this mission by passing a resolution to authorize the use of force against ISIL. We need that authority.

Second, we’re demonstrating the power of American strength and diplomacy. We’re upholding the principle that bigger nations can’t bully the small — by opposing Russian aggression, and supporting Ukraine’s democracy, and reassuring our NATO allies.

Last year, as we were doing the hard work of imposing sanctions along with our allies, as we were reinforcing our presence with frontline states, Mr. Putin’s aggression it was suggested was a masterful display of strategy and strength. That’s what I heard from some folks. Well, today, it is America that stands strong and united with our allies, while Russia is isolated with its economy in tatters. That’s how America leads — not with bluster, but with persistent, steady resolve.

In Cuba, we are ending a policy that was long past its expiration date. When what you’re doing doesn’t work for 50 years, it’s time to try something new. And our shift in Cuba policy has the potential to end a legacy of mistrust in our hemisphere. It removes a phony excuse for restrictions in Cuba. It stands up for democratic values, and extends the hand of friendship to the Cuban people. And this year, Congress should begin the work of ending the embargo.

As His Holiness, Pope Francis, has said, diplomacy is the work of “small steps.” These small steps have added up to new hope for the future in Cuba. And after years in prison, we are overjoyed that Alan Gross is back where he belongs. Welcome home, Alan. We’re glad you’re here.

Our diplomacy is at work with respect to Iran, where, for the first time in a decade, we’ve halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material. Between now and this spring, we have a chance to negotiate a comprehensive agreement that prevents a nuclear-armed Iran, secures America and our allies — including Israel, while avoiding yet another Middle East conflict. There are no guarantees that negotiations will succeed, and I keep all options on the table to prevent a nuclear Iran.

But new sanctions passed by this Congress, at this moment in time, will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails — alienating America from its allies; making it harder to maintain sanctions; and ensuring that Iran starts up its nuclear program again. It doesn’t make sense. And that’s why I will veto any new sanctions bill that threatens to undo this progress. The American people expect us only to go to war as a last resort, and I intend to stay true to that wisdom.

Third, we’re looking beyond the issues that have consumed us in the past to shape the coming century. No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets, or invade the privacy of American families, especially our kids. So we’re making sure our government integrates intelligence to combat cyber threats, just as we have done to combat terrorism.

And tonight, I urge this Congress to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children’s information. That should be a bipartisan effort.

Toward a Safer and More Secure Cyberspace (2007)


ISBN 978-0-309-10395-4

Given 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]

At the Nexus of Cybersecurity and Public Policy: Some Basic Concepts and Issues (2014)


ISBN 978-0-309-30318-7

We depend on information and information technology (IT) to make many of our day-to-day tasks easier and more convenient. Computers play key roles in transportation, health care, banking, and energy. Businesses use IT for payroll and accounting, …

[more]

Proceedings of a Workshop on Deterring Cyberattacks: Informing Strategies and Developing Options for U.S. Policy (2010)


ISBN 978-0-309-16035-3

In 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 …

[more]

Technology, Policy, Law, and Ethics Regarding U.S. Acquisition and Use of Cyberattack Capabilities (2009)


ISBN 978-0-309-13850-5

The 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 …

[more]

If we don’t act, we’ll leave our nation and our economy vulnerable. If we do, we can continue to protect the technologies that have unleashed untold opportunities for people around the globe.

In West Africa, our troops, our scientists, our doctors, our nurses, our health care workers are rolling back Ebola — saving countless lives and stopping the spread of disease. I could not be prouder of them, and I thank this Congress for your bipartisan support of their efforts. But the job is not yet done, and the world needs to use this lesson to build a more effective global effort to prevent the spread of future pandemics, invest in smart development, and eradicate extreme poverty.

Research Priorities to Inform Public Health and Medical Practice for Ebola Virus Disease: Workshop in Brief (2014)

The 2014 epidemic of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), caused by a filovirus, has affected multiple countries in West Africa (Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Senegal), along with Spain and the United States, becoming the worst EVD outbreak …

[more]

The Emergence of Zoonotic Diseases: Understanding the Impact on Animal and Human Health – Workshop Summary (2002)


ISBN 978-0-309-08327-0

Zoonotic diseases represent one of the leading causes of illness and death from infectious disease. Defined by the World Health Organization, zoonoses are those diseases and infections that are naturally transmitted between vertebrate animals and …

[more]

Sustaining Global Surveillance and Response to Emerging Zoonotic Diseases (2009)


ISBN 978-0-309-13734-8

H1N1 (“swine flu”), SARS, mad cow disease, and HIV/AIDS are a few examples of zoonotic diseases-diseases transmitted between humans and animals. Zoonotic diseases are a growing concern given multiple factors: their often novel and unpredictable …

[more]

In the Asia Pacific, we are modernizing alliances while making sure that other nations play by the rules — in how they trade, how they resolve maritime disputes, how they participate in meeting common international challenges like nonproliferation and disaster relief. And no challenge — no challenge — poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.

2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record. Now, one year doesn’t make a trend, but this does: 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century.

I’ve heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists; that we don’t have enough information to act. Well, I’m not a scientist, either. But you know what, I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and at NOAA, and at our major universities. And the best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we don’t act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration and conflict and hunger around the globe. The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it.

Climate Change: Evidence and Causes: Set of 5 Booklets (2014)


ISBN 978-0-309-30199-2

Climate Change: Evidence and Causes is a jointly produced publication of The US National Academy of Sciences and The Royal Society. Written by a UK-US team of leading climate scientists and reviewed by climate scientists and others, the …

[more]

Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises (2013)


ISBN 978-0-309-28773-9

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 (2010)


ISBN 978-0-309-14588-6

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]

And that’s why, over the past six years, we’ve done more than ever to combat climate change, from the way we produce energy to the way we use it. That’s why we’ve set aside more public lands and waters than any administration in history. And that’s why I will not let this Congress endanger the health of our children by turning back the clock on our efforts. I am determined to make sure that American leadership drives international action.

In Beijing, we made a historic announcement: The United States will double the pace at which we cut carbon pollution. And China committed, for the first time, to limiting their emissions. And because the world’s two largest economies came together, other nations are now stepping up, and offering hope that this year the world will finally reach an agreement to protect the one planet we’ve got.

Transitions to Alternative Vehicles and Fuels (2013)


ISBN 978-0-309-26852-3

For a century, almost all light-duty vehicles (LDVs) have been powered by internal combustion engines operating on petroleum fuels. Energy security concerns about petroleum imports and the effect of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on global …

[more]

Real Prospects for Energy Efficiency in the United States (2010)


ISBN 978-0-309-13716-4

America’s economy and lifestyles have been shaped by the low prices and availability of energy. In the last decade, however, the prices of oil, natural gas, and coal have increased dramatically, leaving consumers and the industrial and service …

[more]

America’s Energy Future: Technology and Transformation (2009)


ISBN 978-0-309-11602-2

For 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 …

[more]

And there’s one last pillar of our leadership, and that’s the example of our values.

As Americans, we respect human dignity, even when we’re threatened, which is why I have prohibited torture, and worked to make sure our use of new technology like drones is properly constrained. It’s why we speak out against the deplorable anti-Semitism that has resurfaced in certain parts of the world. It’s why we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of Muslims, the vast majority of whom share our commitment to peace. That’s why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. We do these things not only because they are the right thing to do, but because ultimately they will make us safer.

As Americans, we have a profound commitment to justice. So it makes no sense to spend $3 million per prisoner to keep open a prison that the world condemns and terrorists use to recruit. Since I’ve been President, we’ve worked responsibly to cut the population of Gitmo in half. Now it is time to finish the job. And I will not relent in my determination to shut it down. It is not who we are. It’s time to close Gitmo.

As Americans, we cherish our civil liberties, and we need to uphold that commitment if we want maximum cooperation from other countries and industry in our fight against terrorist networks. So while some have moved on from the debates over our surveillance programs, I have not. As promised, our intelligence agencies have worked hard, with the recommendations of privacy advocates, to increase transparency and build more safeguards against potential abuse. And next month, we’ll issue a report on how we’re keeping our promise to keep our country safe while strengthening privacy.

Bulk Collection of Signals Intelligence: Technical Options (2015)


ISBN 978-0-309-32520-2

The Bulk Collection of Signals Intelligence: Technical Options study is a result of an activity called for in Presidential Policy Directive 28, issued by President Obama in January 2014, to evaluate U.S. signals intelligence practices. …

[more]

Emerging and Readily Available Technologies and National Security A Framework for Addressing Ethical, Legal, and Societal Issues (2014)


ISBN 978-0-309-29334-1

Emerging and Readily Available Technologies and National Security is a study on the ethical, legal, and societal issues relating to the research on, development of, and use of rapidly changing technologies with low barriers of entry that …

[more]

Protecting Individual Privacy in the Struggle Against Terrorists: A Framework for Program Assessment (2008)


ISBN 978-0-309-12488-1

All U.S. agencies with counterterrorism programs that collect or “mine” personal data — such as phone records or Web sites visited — should be required to evaluate the programs’ effectiveness, lawfulness, and impacts on privacy. A framework is …

[more]

Looking to the future instead of the past. Making sure we match our power with diplomacy, and use force wisely. Building coalitions to meet new challenges and opportunities. Leading — always — with the example of our values. That’s what makes us exceptional. That’s what keeps us strong. That’s why we have to keep striving to hold ourselves to the highest of standards — our own.

You know, just over a decade ago, I gave a speech in Boston where I said there wasn’t a liberal America or a conservative America; a black America or a white America — but a United States of America. I said this because I had seen it in my own life, in a nation that gave someone like me a chance; because I grew up in Hawaii, a melting pot of races and customs; because I made Illinois my home — a state of small towns, rich farmland, one of the world’s great cities; a microcosm of the country where Democrats and Republicans and Independents, good people of every ethnicity and every faith, share certain bedrock values.

Over the past six years, the pundits have pointed out more than once that my presidency hasn’t delivered on this vision. How ironic, they say, that our politics seems more divided than ever. It’s held up as proof not just of my own flaws — of which there are many — but also as proof that the vision itself is misguided, naïve, that there are too many people in this town who actually benefit from partisanship and gridlock for us to ever do anything about it.

I know how tempting such cynicism may be. But I still think the cynics are wrong. I still believe that we are one people. I still believe that together, we can do great things, even when the odds are long.

I believe this because over and over in my six years in office, I have seen America at its best. I’ve seen the hopeful faces of young graduates from New York to California, and our newest officers at West Point, Annapolis, Colorado Springs, New London. I’ve mourned with grieving families in Tucson and Newtown, in Boston, in West Texas, and West Virginia. I’ve watched Americans beat back adversity from the Gulf Coast to the Great Plains, from Midwest assembly lines to the Mid-Atlantic seaboard. I’ve seen something like gay marriage go from a wedge issue used to drive us apart to a story of freedom across our country, a civil right now legal in states that seven in 10 Americans call home.

So I know the good, and optimistic, and big-hearted generosity of the American people who every day live the idea that we are our brother’s keeper and our sister’s keeper. And I know they expect those of us who serve here to set a better example.

So the question for those of us here tonight is how we, all of us, can better reflect America’s hopes. I’ve served in Congress with many of you. I know many of you well. There are a lot of good people here, on both sides of the aisle. And many of you have told me that this isn’t what you signed up for — arguing past each other on cable shows, the constant fundraising, always looking over your shoulder at how the base will react to every decision.

Imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns. Imagine if we did something different. Understand, a better politics isn’t one where Democrats abandon their agenda or Republicans simply embrace mine. A better politics is one where we appeal to each other’s basic decency instead of our basest fears. A better politics is one where we debate without demonizing each other; where we talk issues and values, and principles and facts, rather than “gotcha” moments, or trivial gaffes, or fake controversies that have nothing to do with people’s daily lives.

A politics — a better politics is one where we spend less time drowning in dark money for ads that pull us into the gutter, and spend more time lifting young people up with a sense of purpose and possibility, asking them to join in the great mission of building America.

If we’re going to have arguments, let’s have arguments, but let’s make them debates worthy of this body and worthy of this country. We still may not agree on a woman’s right to choose, but surely we can agree it’s a good thing that teen pregnancies and abortions are nearing all-time lows, and that every woman should have access to the health care that she needs.

Yes, passions still fly on immigration, but surely we can all see something of ourselves in the striving young student, and agree that no one benefits when a hardworking mom is snatched from her child, and that it’s possible to shape a law that upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. I’ve talked to Republicans and Democrats about that. That’s something that we can share.

We may go at it in campaign season, but surely we can agree that the right to vote is sacred; that it’s being denied to too many — and that on this 50th anniversary of the great march from Selma to Montgomery and the passage of the Voting Rights Act, we can come together, Democrats and Republicans, to make voting easier for every single American.

We may have different takes on the events of Ferguson and New York. But surely we can understand a father who fears his son can’t walk home without being harassed. And surely we can understand the wife who won’t rest until the police officer she married walks through the front door at the end of his shift. And surely we can agree that it’s a good thing that for the first time in 40 years, the crime rate and the incarceration rate have come down together, and use that as a starting point for Democrats and Republicans, community leaders and law enforcement, to reform America’s criminal justice system so that it protects and serves all of us.

The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences (2014)


ISBN 978-0-309-29801-8

After decades of stability from the 1920s to the early 1970s, the rate of imprisonment in the United States more than quadrupled during the last four decades. The U.S. penal population of 2.2 million adults is by far the largest in the world. …

[more]

Reforming Juvenile Justice: A Developmental Approach (2013)


ISBN 978-0-309-27890-4

Adolescence is a distinct, yet transient, period of development between childhood and adulthood characterized by increased experimentation and risk-taking, a tendency to discount long-term consequences, and heightened sensitivity to peers and …

[more]

Fairness and Effectiveness in Policing: The Evidence (2004)


ISBN 978-0-309-28965-8

Because police are the most visible face of government power for most citizens, they are expected to deal effectively with crime and disorder and to be impartial. Producing justice through the fair, and restrained use of their authority. The …

[more]

That’s a better politics. That’s how we start rebuilding trust. That’s how we move this country forward. That’s what the American people want. And that’s what they deserve.

I have no more campaigns to run. My only agenda — I know because I won both of them. My only agenda for the next two years is the same as the one I’ve had since the day I swore an oath on the steps of this Capitol — to do what I believe is best for America. If you share the broad vision I outlined tonight, I ask you to join me in the work at hand. If you disagree with parts of it, I hope you’ll at least work with me where you do agree. And I commit to every Republican here tonight that I will not only seek out your ideas, I will seek to work with you to make this country stronger.

Because I want this chamber, I want this city to reflect the truth — that for all our blind spots and shortcomings, we are a people with the strength and generosity of spirit to bridge divides, to unite in common effort, to help our neighbors, whether down the street or on the other side of the world.

I want our actions to tell every child in every neighborhood, your life matters, and we are committed to improving your life chances as committed as we are to working on behalf of our own kids. I want future generations to know that we are a people who see our differences as a great gift, that we’re a people who value the dignity and worth of every citizen — man and woman, young and old, black and white, Latino, Asian, immigrant, Native American, gay, straight, Americans with mental illness or physical disability. Everybody matters. I want them to grow up in a country that shows the world what we still know to be true: that we are still more than a collection of red states and blue states; that we are the United States of America.

I want them to grow up in a country where a young mom can sit down and write a letter to her President with a story that sums up these past six years: “It’s amazing what you can bounce back from when you have to…we are a strong, tight-knit family who’s made it through some very, very hard times.”

My fellow Americans, we, too, are a strong, tight-knit family. We, too, have made it through some hard times. Fifteen years into this new century, we have picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and begun again the work of remaking America. We have laid a new foundation. A brighter future is ours to write. Let’s begin this new chapter together — and let’s start the work right now.

Thank you. God bless you. God bless this country we love. Thank you.

Take 5: Top Books on Energy

Got scientists and engineers on your holiday shopping list? Take five and check out our top gift ideas. NAP books and merchandise make thoughtful gifts for thinking people.

America's Energy Future

America’s Energy Future: Technology and Transformation

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,…
Details

Assessment of Fuel Economy Technologies for Light-Duty Vehicles

Assessment of Fuel Economy Technologies for Light-Duty Vehicles

Various 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…
Details

Hidden Costs of Energy

Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use

Despite 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…
Details

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

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

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

Real Prospects for Energy Efficiency in the United States

Real Prospects for Energy Efficiency in the United States

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

Panicking Over Prices at the Pump? New Technologies and Energy Efficiency Can Reduce Our Need for Gasoline

Drivers everywhere are feeling pain at the pump. With gas prices hovering at $4.00 a gallon in many areas, many of us are trying to reduce the amount of driving we do. Combining trips, switching to public transportation, walking, and biking can all help reduce our personal use, at least in the short run. According to the Department of Energy, demand for gas recently dropped. Transportation is responsible for more than two-thirds of U.S. oil consumption, and about 60 percent of the oil we use must be imported. Dependence on imported oil leads to concerns over vulnerability to disruptions, especially if world oil production peaks. Use of gasoline in vehicles also accounts for one-third of U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas linked to global climate change. The U.S. government is seeking to reduce the use of oil to help meet both challenges. A longer-term solution to the oil problem would be to invest in and encourage research in systems that are more energy efficient, and new technologies that do not rely on gasoline.

The National Research council has produced a number of reports on the subject of energy, summarizing our current status and examining prospects for the future. Transitions to Alternative Transportation Technologies — Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) evaluates battery and vehicle technologies to predict how costs might drop as technology improves and economies of scale increase and examines the ability of the electric grid to supply power for a growing PHEV fleet. It also analyzes two potential market-penetration rates for PHEVs.

Assessment of Fuel Economy Technologies for Light-Duty Vehicles states that a significant number of technologies exist that can reduce the fuel consumption of light-duty vehicles while maintaining similar performance, safety, and utility. Each technology has its own characteristic fuel-consumption benefit and estimated cost. Although these technologies are often considered independently, there can be positive and negative interactions among individual technologies, and so the technologies must be effectively integrated into the full vehicle system.

America’s Energy Future: Technology and Transformation discusses ways that, with a sustained national commitment, the United States could obtain substantial energy efficiency improvements, new sources of energy, and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions through the accelerated deployment of existing and emerging energy-supply and end-use technologies.

These books and others on the subject can inform debate and assist in decision-making.

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

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

Assessment of Fuel Economy Technologies for Light-Duty Vehicles Assessment of Fuel Economy Technologies for Light-Duty Vehicles 

Various 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…
Details

America's Energy Future America’s Energy Future: Technology and Transformation: Summary Edition 

Energy production and use touch our lives in countless ways. We are reminded of the cost of energy every time we fill up at the gas pump, pay an electricity bill, or purchase an airline ticket. Energy use also has important indirect impacts, not all of which…
Details

Real Prospects for Energy Efficiency in the United States Real Prospects for Energy Efficiency in the United States 

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

Technologies and Approaches to Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles Technologies and Approaches to Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles 

Technologies and Approaches to Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles evaluates various technologies and methods that could improve the fuel economy of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, such as tractor-trailers, transit…
Details

Hidden Costs of Energy Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use 

Despite 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…
Details

Driving and the Built Environment Driving and the Built Environment: The Effects of Compact Development on Motorized Travel, Energy Use, and CO2 Emissions — Special Report 298 

TRB Special Report 298: Driving and the Built Environment: Effects of Compact Development on Motorized Travel, Energy Use, and CO2 Emissions examines the relationship between land development patterns and vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the…
Details

Transitions to Alternative Transportation Technologies--A Focus on Hydrogen Transitions to Alternative Transportation Technologies–A Focus on Hydrogen 

Hydrogen 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…
Details

Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: Second Report 

The FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership is a collaborative effort among the Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Council for Automotive Research (USCAR), and five major energy companies to manage research that will enable the vision of a clean and sustainable…
Details

Trends in Oil Supply and Demand, Potential for Peaking of Conventional Oil Production, and Possible Mitigation Options Trends in Oil Supply and Demand, Potential for Peaking of Conventional Oil Production, and Possible Mitigation Options: A Summary Report of the Workshop 

Recent events and analyses have suggested that global production of oil might peak sometime within the next few years to the next one or two decades. Other analyses, however, conclude that oil supply can meet global demand for some decades to come and that oil…
Details

Nuclear Energy: Status, Prospects, and Issues

Events at Japan’s Fukashima Dai-ichi nuclear plant have caused many to take a closer look at the U.S. nuclear power industry. Nuclear power provides 19 percent of U.S. electricity as a whole and about 70 percent of electricity produced without greenhouse gas emissions from operations. Nuclear power plants have historically provided electricity safely and reliably, and they have operated with capacity factors greater than 90 percent over the last few years.

There has been substantial worldwide interest in building new nuclear power plants. This interest is evident not only in countries that led the world in the development of nuclear power, but also in developing countries with large economies. After years of relatively slow worldwide growth, many countries that do not have a nuclear power plant are considering building one; and many nations that already have one or more nuclear power plants are considering adding more nuclear power plants and expanding their nuclear enterprises with fuel fabrication, uranium enrichment, and spent fuel reprocessing facilities to serve an expanded fleet of nuclear power plants.

The National Research Council has produced a number of reports that examine the prospects for future development of nuclear energy, the processes for transportation and storage of commercial spent nuclear fuel, safety considerations for the operation of U.S. nuclear plants, and possible unintended dual-use issues.

America’s Energy Future: Technology and Transformation discusses the current status and prospects for nuclear energy in the United States. This book examines new technologies that could make nuclear power more efficient. Hidden Costs of Energy: Inpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use examines the costs and benefits of various sources of energy, providing detailed analyses of electricity generation from coal, natural gas, and nuclear fission, which together account for 88% of all electricity generated in the United States.

Safety and Security of Commercial Nuclear Spent Fuel Storage assesses the safety and security risks of spent nuclear fuel stored in cooling pools and dry casks at commercial nuclear power plants. Internationalization of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle addresses concerns about the proliferation risk of adding enrichment facilities in countries that do not have them now, and the possibility of providing the needed fuel and reprocessing nuclear waste without requiring indigenous enrichment facilities.

These books and others can inform debate and guide decision-making.

America's Energy Future America’s Energy Future: Technology and Transformation

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,…
Details

 

Hidden Costs of Energy Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use

Despite 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…
Details

 

Safety and Security of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Safety and Security of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage: Public Report

In response to a request from Congress, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Department of Homeland Security sponsored a National Academies study to assess the safety and security risks of spent nuclear fuel stored in cooling pools and dry casks at…
Details

 

Internationalization of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Internationalization of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle: Goals, Strategies, and Challenges

The so-called nuclear renaissance has increased worldwide interest in nuclear power. This potential growth also has increased, in some quarters, concern that nonproliferation considerations are not being given sufficient attention. In particular, since…
Details

 

Electricity from Renewable Resources Electricity from Renewable Resources: Status, Prospects, and Impediments

A component in the America’s Energy Future study, Electricity from Renewable Resources examines the technical potential for electric power generation with alternative sources such as wind, solar-photovoltaic, geothermal, solar-thermal,…
Details

 

Review of DOE's Nuclear Energy Research and Development Program Review of DOE’s Nuclear Energy Research and Development Program

There has been a substantial resurgence of interest in nuclear power in the United States over the past few years. One consequence has been a rapid growth in the research budget of DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy (NE). In light of this growth, the Office of…
Details

 

Alternatives to the Indian Point Energy Center for Meeting New York Electric Power Needs Alternatives to the Indian Point Energy Center for Meeting New York Electric Power Needs

Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, many in the New York City area have become concerned about the possible consequences of a similar attack on the Indian Point nuclear power plantslocated about 40 miles from…
Details

 

Going the Distance? Going the Distance?: The Safe Transport of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste in the United States

This new report from the National Research Councils Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board (NRSB) and the Transportation Research Board reviews the risks and technical and societal concerns for the transport of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste…
Details

 

An International Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Facility -- Exploring a Russian Site as a Prototype An International Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Facility — Exploring a Russian Site as a Prototype: Proceedings of an International Workshop

As part of a long-standing collaboration on nuclear nonproliferation, the National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences held a joint workshop in Moscow in 2003 on the scientific aspects of an international radioactive disposal site in Russia. …
Details

 

End Points for Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste in Russia and the United States End Points for Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste in Russia and the United States

End Points for spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste in Russian and the United States provides an analysis of the management of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste in Russia and the United States, describing inventories,…
Details

 

One Step at a Time One Step at a Time: The Staged Development of Geologic Repositories for High-Level Radioactive Waste

Compared to other large engineering projects, geologic repositories for high-level waste present distinctive challenges because: 1) they are first-of-a-kind, complex, and long-term projects that must actively manage hazardous materials for many decades: 2) they…
Details

 

State of the Union Highlights

In Tuesday’s State of the Union address, the President touched on many important issues facing our country. To learn more about those issues, we are pleased to offer authoritative resources from the National Academies in the areas of public policy, science, engineering, and medicine.

Remarks of President Barack Obama in State of the Union Address

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:

Tonight I want to begin by congratulating the men and women of the 112th Congress, as well as your new Speaker, John Boehner. And as we mark this occasion, we are also mindful of the empty chair in this Chamber, and pray for the health of our colleague – and our friend – Gabby Giffords.

It’s no secret that those of us here tonight have had our differences over the last two years. The debates have been contentious; we have fought fiercely for our beliefs. And that’s a good thing. That’s what a robust democracy demands. That’s what helps set us apart as a nation.

But there’s a reason the tragedy in Tucson gave us pause. Amid all the noise and passions and rancor of our public debate, Tucson reminded us that no matter who we are or where we come from, each of us is a part of something greater – something more consequential than party or political preference.

We are part of the American family. We believe that in a country where every race and faith and point of view can be found, we are still bound together as one people; that we share common hopes and a common creed; that the dreams of a little girl in Tucson are not so different than those of our own children, and that they all deserve the chance to be fulfilled.

That, too, is what sets us apart as a nation.

Now, by itself, this simple recognition won’t usher in a new era of cooperation. What comes of this moment is up to us. What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow.

I believe we can. I believe we must. That’s what the people who sent us here expect of us. With their votes, they’ve determined that governing will now be a shared responsibility between parties. New laws will only pass with support from Democrats and Republicans. We will move forward together, or not at all – for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics.

At stake right now is not who wins the next election – after all, we just had an election. At stake is whether new jobs and industries take root in this country, or somewhere else. It’s whether the hard work and industry of our people is rewarded. It’s whether we sustain the leadership that has made America not just a place on a map, but a light to the world.

Read about global competitiveness in…
Rising Above the Gathering Storm Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited

We are poised for progress. Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back. Corporate profits are up. The economy is growing again.

But we have never measured progress by these yardsticks alone. We measure progress by the success of our people. By the jobs they can find and the quality of life those jobs offer. By the prospects of a small business owner who dreams of turning a good idea into a thriving enterprise. By the opportunities for a better life that we pass on to our children.

That’s the project the American people want us to work on. Together.

We did that in December. Thanks to the tax cuts we passed, Americans’ paychecks are a little bigger today. Every business can write off the full cost of the new investments they make this year. These steps, taken by Democrats and Republicans, will grow the economy and add to the more than one million private sector jobs created last year.

But we have more work to do. The steps we’ve taken over the last two years may have broken the back of this recession – but to win the future, we’ll need to take on challenges that have been decades in the making.

Many people watching tonight can probably remember a time when finding a good job meant showing up at a nearby factory or a business downtown. You didn’t always need a degree, and your competition was pretty much limited to your neighbors. If you worked hard, chances are you’d have a job for life, with a decent paycheck, good benefits, and the occasional promotion. Maybe you’d even have the pride of seeing your kids work at the same company.

That world has changed. And for many, the change has been painful. I’ve seen it in the shuttered windows of once booming factories, and the vacant storefronts of once busy Main Streets. I’ve heard it in the frustrations of Americans who’ve seen their paychecks dwindle or their jobs disappear – proud men and women who feel like the rules have been changed in the middle of the game.

They’re right. The rules have changed. In a single generation, revolutions in technology have transformed the way we live, work and do business. Steel mills that once needed 1,000 workers can now do the same work with 100. Today, just about any company can set up shop, hire workers, and sell their products wherever there’s an internet connection.

Meanwhile, nations like China and India realized that with some changes of their own, they could compete in this new world. And so they started educating their children earlier and longer, with greater emphasis on math and science. They’re investing in research and new technologies. Just recently, China became home to the world’s largest private solar research facility, and the world’s fastest computer.

Read about innovation in China and India in…
The Power of Renewables: Opportunities and Challenges for China and the United States The Dragon and the Elephant: Understanding the Development of Innovation Capacity in China and India

So yes, the world has changed. The competition for jobs is real. But this shouldn’t discourage us. It should challenge us. Remember – for all the hits we’ve taken these last few years, for all the naysayers predicting our decline, America still has the largest, most prosperous economy in the world. No workers are more productive than ours. No country has more successful companies, or grants more patents to inventors and entrepreneurs. We are home to the world’s best colleges and universities, where more students come to study than any other place on Earth.

What’s more, we are the first nation to be founded for the sake of an idea – the idea that each of us deserves the chance to shape our own destiny. That is why centuries of pioneers and immigrants have risked everything to come here. It’s why our students don’t just memorize equations, but answer questions like “What do you think of that idea? What would you change about the world? What do you want to be when you grow up?”

The future is ours to win. But to get there, we can’t just stand still. As Robert Kennedy told us, “The future is not a gift. It is an achievement.” Sustaining the American Dream has never been about standing pat. It has required each generation to sacrifice, and struggle, and meet the demands of a new age.

Now it’s our turn. We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time. We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. We have to make America the best place on Earth to do business. We need to take responsibility for our deficit, and reform our government. That’s how our people will prosper. That’s how we’ll win the future. And tonight, I’d like to talk about how we get there.

The first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation.

Read about encouraging American innovation in…
Innovation in Global Industries
Changing the Conversation

Rebuilding a Real Economy: Unleashing Engineering Innovation

None of us can predict with certainty what the next big industry will be, or where the new jobs will come from. Thirty years ago, we couldn’t know that something called the Internet would lead to an economic revolution. What we can do – what America does better than anyone – is spark the creativity and imagination of our people. We are the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook. In America, innovation doesn’t just change our lives. It’s how we make a living.

Our free enterprise system is what drives innovation. But because it’s not always profitable for companies to invest in basic research, throughout history our government has provided cutting-edge scientists and inventors with the support that they need. That’s what planted the seeds for the Internet. That’s what helped make possible things like computer chips and GPS.

Just think of all the good jobs – from manufacturing to retail – that have come from those breakthroughs.

Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik¸ we had no idea how we’d beat them to the moon. The science wasn’t there yet. NASA didn’t even exist. But after investing in better research and education, we didn’t just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs.

Read about today’s priorities for NASA in…
New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics

This is our generation’s Sputnik moment. Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven’t seen since the height of the Space Race. In a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We’ll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology – an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.

Read about investing in biomedical research, information technology, and clean energy technology in…
Funding Biomedical Research Programs
Assessing the Impacts of Changes in the Information Technology R&D Ecosystem: Retaining Leadership in an Increasingly Global Environment

Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use

Already, we are seeing the promise of renewable energy. Robert and Gary Allen are brothers who run a small Michigan roofing company. After September 11th, they volunteered their best roofers to help repair the Pentagon. But half of their factory went unused, and the recession hit them hard.

Today, with the help of a government loan, that empty space is being used to manufacture solar shingles that are being sold all across the country. In Robert’s words, “We reinvented ourselves.”

That’s what Americans have done for over two hundred years: reinvented ourselves. And to spur on more success stories like the Allen Brothers, we’ve begun to reinvent our energy policy. We’re not just handing out money. We’re issuing a challenge. We’re telling America’s scientists and engineers that if they assemble teams of the best minds in their fields, and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy, we’ll fund the Apollo Projects of our time.

Read about reinventing our energy policy in…
America’s Energy Future

At the California Institute of Technology, they’re developing a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, they’re using supercomputers to get a lot more power out of our nuclear facilities. With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.

Read about biofuels and electric vehicles in…
Liquid Transportation Fuels from Coal and Biomass Transitions to Alternative Transportation Technologies–Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles

We need to get behind this innovation. And to help pay for it, I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s.

Now, clean energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market for what they’re selling. So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal: by 2035, 80% of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources. Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal, and natural gas. To meet this goal, we will need them all – and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen.

Read about our energy options in…

Real Prospects for Energy Efficiency in the United States

Electricity from Renewable Resources

Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change

Maintaining our leadership in research and technology is crucial to America’s success. But if we want to win the future – if we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas – then we also have to win the race to educate our kids.

Read about innovation in teaching in…

Surrounded by Science

Learning Science in Informal Environments

Learning Science Through Computer Games and Simulations (Prepublication)

Think about it. Over the next ten years, nearly half of all new jobs will require education that goes beyond a high school degree. And yet, as many as a quarter of our students aren’t even finishing high school. The quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations. America has fallen to 9th in the proportion of young people with a college degree. And so the question is whether all of us – as citizens, and as parents – are willing to do what’s necessary to give every child a chance to succeed.

Read about the methods and importance of science and math education in…
Taking Science to School Ready, Set, SCIENCE!
Science Professionals: Master’s Education for a Competitive World Expanding Under-represented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads
(Prepublication)
How Students Learn Mathematics Learning in Early Childhood
Adding It Up: Helping Children Learn Mathematics

That responsibility begins not in our classrooms, but in our homes and communities. It’s family that first instills the love of learning in a child. Only parents can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done. We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair; that success is not a function of fame or PR, but of hard work and discipline.

Our schools share this responsibility. When a child walks into a classroom, it should be a place of high expectations and high performance. But too many schools don’t meet this test. That’s why instead of just pouring money into a system that’s not working, we launched a competition called Race to the Top. To all fifty states, we said, “If you show us the most innovative plans to improve teacher quality and student achievement, we’ll show you the money.”

Race to the Top is the most meaningful reform of our public schools in a generation. For less than one percent of what we spend on education each year, it has led over 40 states to raise their standards for teaching and learning. These standards were developed, not by Washington, but by Republican and Democratic governors throughout the country. And Race to the Top should be the approach we follow this year as we replace No Child Left Behind with a law that is more flexible and focused on what’s best for our kids.

You see, we know what’s possible for our children when reform isn’t just a top-down mandate, but the work of local teachers and principals; school boards and communities.

Take a school like Bruce Randolph in Denver. Three years ago, it was rated one of the worst schools in Colorado; located on turf between two rival gangs. But last May, 97% of the seniors received their diploma. Most will be the first in their family to go to college. And after the first year of the school’s transformation, the principal who made it possible wiped away tears when a student said “Thank you, Mrs. Waters, for showing… that we are smart and we can make it.”

Let’s also remember that after parents, the biggest impact on a child’s success comes from the man or woman at the front of the classroom. In South Korea, teachers are known as “nation builders.” Here in America, it’s time we treated the people who educate our children with the same level of respect. We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones. And over the next ten years, with so many Baby Boomers retiring from our classrooms, we want to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.

Read about preparing and evaluating teachers in…
Preparing Teachers Assessing Accomplished Teaching

In fact, to every young person listening tonight who’s contemplating their career choice: If you want to make a difference in the life of our nation; if you want to make a difference in the life of a child – become a teacher. Your country needs you.

Of course, the education race doesn’t end with a high school diploma. To compete, higher education must be within reach of every American. That’s why we’ve ended the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that went to banks, and used the savings to make college affordable for millions of students. And this year, I ask Congress to go further, and make permanent our tuition tax credit – worth $10,000 for four years of college.

Because people need to be able to train for new jobs and careers in today’s fast-changing economy, we are also revitalizing America’s community colleges. Last month, I saw the promise of these schools at Forsyth Tech in North Carolina. Many of the students there used to work in the surrounding factories that have since left town. One mother of two, a woman named Kathy Proctor, had worked in the furniture industry since she was 18 years old. And she told me she’s earning her degree in biotechnology now, at 55 years old, not just because the furniture jobs are gone, but because she wants to inspire her children to pursue their dreams too. As Kathy said, “I hope it tells them to never give up.”

If we take these steps – if we raise expectations for every child, and give them the best possible chance at an education, from the day they’re born until the last job they take – we will reach the goal I set two years ago: by the end of the decade, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.

One last point about education. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of students excelling in our schools who are not American citizens. Some are the children of undocumented workers, who had nothing to do with the actions of their parents. They grew up as Americans and pledge allegiance to our flag, and yet live every day with the threat of deportation. Others come here from abroad to study in our colleges and universities. But as soon as they obtain advanced degrees, we send them back home to compete against us. It makes no sense.

Now, I strongly believe that we should take on, once and for all, the issue of illegal immigration. I am prepared to work with Republicans and Democrats to protect our borders, enforce our laws and address the millions of undocumented workers who are now living in the shadows. I know that debate will be difficult and take time. But tonight, let’s agree to make that effort. And let’s stop expelling talented, responsible young people who can staff our research labs, start new businesses, and further enrich this nation.

Read about immigrants’ role in our future prosperity in…
Multiple Origins, Uncertain Destinies: Hispanics and the American Future

The third step in winning the future is rebuilding America. To attract new businesses to our shores, we need the fastest, most reliable ways to move people, goods, and information – from high-speed rail to high-speed internet.

Our infrastructure used to be the best – but our lead has slipped. South Korean homes now have greater internet access than we do. Countries in Europe and Russia invest more in their roads and railways than we do. China is building faster trains and newer airports. Meanwhile, when our own engineers graded our nation’s infrastructure, they gave us a “D.”

Read about our nation’s infrastructure in…

Sustainable Critical Infrastructure Systems: A Framework for Meeting 21st Century Imperatives

Driving and the Built Environment

The Federal Investment in Highway Research, 2006-2009: Strengths and Weaknesses

We have to do better. America is the nation that built the transcontinental railroad, brought electricity to rural communities, and constructed the interstate highway system. The jobs created by these projects didn’t just come from laying down tracks or pavement. They came from businesses that opened near a town’s new train station or the new off-ramp.

Over the last two years, we have begun rebuilding for the 21st century, a project that has meant thousands of good jobs for the hard-hit construction industry. Tonight, I’m proposing that we redouble these efforts.

We will put more Americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges. We will make sure this is fully paid for, attract private investment, and pick projects based on what’s best for the economy, not politicians.

Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80% of Americans access to high-speed rail, which could allow you go places in half the time it takes to travel by car. For some trips, it will be faster than flying – without the pat-down. As we speak, routes in California and the Midwest are already underway.

Within the next five years, we will make it possible for business to deploy the next generation of high-speed wireless coverage to 98% of all Americans. This isn’t just about a faster internet and fewer dropped calls. It’s about connecting every part of America to the digital age. It’s about a rural community in Iowa or Alabama where farmers and small business owners will be able to sell their products all over the world. It’s about a firefighter who can download the design of a burning building onto a handheld device; a student who can take classes with a digital textbook; or a patient who can have face-to-face video chats with her doctor.

Read about applying technology to health care in…
Building a Better Delivery System: A New Engineering/Health Care Partnership Computational Technology for Effective Health Care

All these investments – in innovation, education, and infrastructure – will make America a better place to do business and create jobs. But to help our companies compete, we also have to knock down barriers that stand in the way of their success.

Over the years, a parade of lobbyists has rigged the tax code to benefit particular companies and industries. Those with accountants or lawyers to work the system can end up paying no taxes at all. But all the rest are hit with one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and it has to change.

So tonight, I’m asking Democrats and Republicans to simplify the system. Get rid of the loopholes. Level the playing field. And use the savings to lower the corporate tax rate for the first time in 25 years – without adding to our deficit.

To help businesses sell more products abroad, we set a goal of doubling our exports by 2014 – because the more we export, the more jobs we create at home. Already, our exports are up. Recently, we signed agreements with India and China that will support more than 250,000 jobs in the United States. And last month, we finalized a trade agreement with South Korea that will support at least 70,000 American jobs. This agreement has unprecedented support from business and labor; Democrats and Republicans, and I ask this Congress to pass it as soon as possible.

Before I took office, I made it clear that we would enforce our trade agreements, and that I would only sign deals that keep faith with American workers, and promote American jobs. That’s what we did with Korea, and that’s what I intend to do as we pursue agreements with Panama and Colombia, and continue our Asia Pacific and global trade talks.

To reduce barriers to growth and investment, I’ve ordered a review of government regulations. When we find rules that put an unnecessary burden on businesses, we will fix them. But I will not hesitate to create or enforce commonsense safeguards to protect the American people. That’s what we’ve done in this country for more than a century. It’s why our food is safe to eat, our water is safe to drink, and our air is safe to breathe. It’s why we have speed limits and child labor laws. It’s why last year, we put in place consumer protections against hidden fees and penalties by credit card companies, and new rules to prevent another financial crisis. And it’s why we passed reform that finally prevents the health insurance industry from exploiting patients.

Read about regulations for the food industry and financial industry in…
Enhancing Food Safety New Directions for Understanding Systemic Risk

Now, I’ve heard rumors that a few of you have some concerns about the new health care law. So let me be the first to say that anything can be improved. If you have ideas about how to improve this law by making care better or more affordable, I am eager to work with you. We can start right now by correcting a flaw in the legislation that has placed an unnecessary bookkeeping burden on small businesses.

What I’m not willing to do is go back to the days when insurance companies could deny someone coverage because of a pre-existing condition. I’m not willing to tell James Howard, a brain cancer patient from Texas, that his treatment might not be covered. I’m not willing to tell Jim Houser, a small business owner from Oregon, that he has to go back to paying $5,000 more to cover his employees. As we speak, this law is making prescription drugs cheaper for seniors and giving uninsured students a chance to stay on their parents’ coverage. So instead of re-fighting the battles of the last two years, let’s fix what needs fixing and move forward.

Read about health insurance in America in…
America’s Uninsured Crisis

Now, the final step – a critical step – in winning the future is to make sure we aren’t buried under a mountain of debt.

We are living with a legacy of deficit-spending that began almost a decade ago. And in the wake of the financial crisis, some of that was necessary to keep credit flowing, save jobs, and put money in people’s pockets.

But now that the worst of the recession is over, we have to confront the fact that our government spends more than it takes in. That is not sustainable. Every day, families sacrifice to live within their means. They deserve a government that does the same.

Read about our options for fiscal sustainability in…
Choosing the Nation’s Fiscal Future

So tonight, I am proposing that starting this year, we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years. This would reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, and will bring discretionary spending to the lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president.

This freeze will require painful cuts. Already, we have frozen the salaries of hardworking federal employees for the next two years. I’ve proposed cuts to things I care deeply about, like community action programs. The Secretary of Defense has also agreed to cut tens of billions of dollars in spending that he and his generals believe our military can do without.

I recognize that some in this Chamber have already proposed deeper cuts, and I’m willing to eliminate whatever we can honestly afford to do without. But let’s make sure that we’re not doing it on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens. And let’s make sure what we’re cutting is really excess weight. Cutting the deficit by gutting our investments in innovation and education is like lightening an overloaded airplane by removing its engine. It may feel like you’re flying high at first, but it won’t take long before you’ll feel the impact.

Now, most of the cuts and savings I’ve proposed only address annual domestic spending, which represents a little more than 12% of our budget. To make further progress, we have to stop pretending that cutting this kind of spending alone will be enough. It won’t.

The bipartisan Fiscal Commission I created last year made this crystal clear. I don’t agree with all their proposals, but they made important progress. And their conclusion is that the only way to tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it – in domestic spending, defense spending, health care spending, and spending through tax breaks and loopholes.

This means further reducing health care costs, including programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which are the single biggest contributor to our long-term deficit. Health insurance reform will slow these rising costs, which is part of why nonpartisan economists have said that repealing the health care law would add a quarter of a trillion dollars to our deficit. Still, I’m willing to look at other ideas to bring down costs, including one that Republicans suggested last year: medical malpractice reform to rein in frivolous lawsuits.

To put us on solid ground, we should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations. And we must do it without putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market.

And if we truly care about our deficit, we simply cannot afford a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Before we take money away from our schools, or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break.

It’s not a matter of punishing their success. It’s about promoting America’s success.

In fact, the best thing we could do on taxes for all Americans is to simplify the individual tax code. This will be a tough job, but members of both parties have expressed interest in doing this, and I am prepared to join them.

So now is the time to act. Now is the time for both sides and both houses of Congress – Democrats and Republicans – to forge a principled compromise that gets the job done. If we make the hard choices now to rein in our deficits, we can make the investments we need to win the future.

Let me take this one step further. We shouldn’t just give our people a government that’s more affordable. We should give them a government that’s more competent and efficient. We cannot win the future with a government of the past.

We live and do business in the information age, but the last major reorganization of the government happened in the age of black and white TV. There are twelve different agencies that deal with exports. There are at least five different entities that deal with housing policy. Then there’s my favorite example: the Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they’re in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them in when they’re in saltwater. And I hear it gets even more complicated once they’re smoked.

Now, we have made great strides over the last two years in using technology and getting rid of waste. Veterans can now download their electronic medical records with a click of the mouse. We’re selling acres of federal office space that hasn’t been used in years, and we will cut through red tape to get rid of more. But we need to think bigger. In the coming months, my administration will develop a proposal to merge, consolidate, and reorganize the federal government in a way that best serves the goal of a more competitive America. I will submit that proposal to Congress for a vote – and we will push to get it passed.

Read about improving government efficiency in…

Strengthening the National Institute of Justice

Improving the Social Security Representative Payee Program

Evaluating Research Efficiency in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency: Fourth Edition

In the coming year, we will also work to rebuild people’s faith in the institution of government. Because you deserve to know exactly how and where your tax dollars are being spent, you will be able to go to a website and get that information for the very first time in history. Because you deserve to know when your elected officials are meeting with lobbyists, I ask Congress to do what the White House has already done: put that information online. And because the American people deserve to know that special interests aren’t larding up legislation with pet projects, both parties in Congress should know this: if a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it.

A 21st century government that’s open and competent. A government that lives within its means. An economy that’s driven by new skills and ideas. Our success in this new and changing world will require reform, responsibility, and innovation. It will also require us to approach that world with a new level of engagement in our foreign affairs.

Just as jobs and businesses can now race across borders, so can new threats and new challenges. No single wall separates East and West; no one rival superpower is aligned against us.

And so we must defeat determined enemies wherever they are, and build coalitions that cut across lines of region and race and religion. America’s moral example must always shine for all who yearn for freedom, justice, and dignity. And because we have begun this work, tonight we can say that American leadership has been renewed and America’s standing has been restored.

Look to Iraq, where nearly 100,000 of our brave men and women have left with their heads held high; where American combat patrols have ended; violence has come down; and a new government has been formed. This year, our civilians will forge a lasting partnership with the Iraqi people, while we finish the job of bringing our troops out of Iraq. America’s commitment has been kept; the Iraq War is coming to an end.

Of course, as we speak, al Qaeda and their affiliates continue to plan attacks against us. Thanks to our intelligence and law enforcement professionals, we are disrupting plots and securing our cities and skies. And as extremists try to inspire acts of violence within our borders, we are responding with the strength of our communities, with respect for the rule of law, and with the conviction that American Muslims are a part of our American family.

We have also taken the fight to al Qaeda and their allies abroad. In Afghanistan, our troops have taken Taliban strongholds and trained Afghan Security Forces. Our purpose is clear – by preventing the Taliban from reestablishing a stranglehold over the Afghan people, we will deny al Qaeda the safe-haven that served as a launching pad for 9/11.

Thanks to our heroic troops and civilians, fewer Afghans are under the control of the insurgency. There will be tough fighting ahead, and the Afghan government will need to deliver better governance. But we are strengthening the capacity of the Afghan people and building an enduring partnership with them. This year, we will work with nearly 50 countries to begin a transition to an Afghan lead. And this July, we will begin to bring our troops home.

Read about returning troops in…
Returning Home from Iraq and Afghanistan

In Pakistan, al Qaeda’s leadership is under more pressure than at any point since 2001. Their leaders and operatives are being removed from the battlefield. Their safe-havens are shrinking. And we have sent a message from the Afghan border to the Arabian Peninsula to all parts of the globe: we will not relent, we will not waver, and we will defeat you.

American leadership can also be seen in the effort to secure the worst weapons of war. Because Republicans and Democrats approved the New START Treaty, far fewer nuclear weapons and launchers will be deployed. Because we rallied the world, nuclear materials are being locked down on every continent so they never fall into the hands of terrorists.

Read about global cooperation for arms control in…
Strengthening U.S-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Nonproliferation
Protection, Control, and Accounting of Nuclear Materials:
International Challenges and National Programs

Understanding Biosecurity: Protecting Against the Misuse of Science in Today’s World

Because of a diplomatic effort to insist that Iran meet its obligations, the Iranian government now faces tougher and tighter sanctions than ever before. And on the Korean peninsula, we stand with our ally South Korea, and insist that North Korea keeps its commitment to abandon nuclear weapons.

This is just a part of how we are shaping a world that favors peace and prosperity. With our European allies, we revitalized NATO, and increased our cooperation on everything from counter-terrorism to missile defense. We have reset our relationship with Russia, strengthened Asian alliances, and built new partnerships with nations like India. This March, I will travel to Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador to forge new alliances for progress in the Americas. Around the globe, we are standing with those who take responsibility – helping farmers grow more food; supporting doctors who care for the sick; and combating the corruption that can rot a society and rob people of opportunity.

Read about our global health and nutrition policies in…
The U.S. Commitment to Global Health Mitigating the Nutritional Impacts of the Global Food Price Crisis

Recent events have shown us that what sets us apart must not just be our power – it must be the purpose behind it. In South Sudan – with our assistance – the people were finally able to vote for independence after years of war. Thousands lined up before dawn. People danced in the streets. One man who lost four of his brothers at war summed up the scene around him: “This was a battlefield for most of my life. Now we want to be free.”

We saw that same desire to be free in Tunisia, where the will of the people proved more powerful than the writ of a dictator. And tonight, let us be clear: the United States of America stands with the people of Tunisia, and supports the democratic aspirations of all people.

We must never forget that the things we’ve struggled for, and fought for, live in the hearts of people everywhere. And we must always remember that the Americans who have borne the greatest burden in this struggle are the men and women who serve our country.

Tonight, let us speak with one voice in reaffirming that our nation is united in support of our troops and their families. Let us serve them as well as they have served us – by giving them the equipment they need; by providing them with the care and benefits they have earned; and by enlisting our veterans in the great task of building our own nation.

Our troops come from every corner of this country – they are black, white, Latino, Asian and Native American. They are Christian and Hindu, Jewish and Muslim. And, yes, we know that some of them are gay. Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love. And with that change, I call on all of our college campuses to open their doors to our military recruiters and the ROTC. It is time to leave behind the divisive battles of the past. It is time to move forward as one nation.

We should have no illusions about the work ahead of us. Reforming our schools; changing the way we use energy; reducing our deficit – none of this is easy. All of it will take time. And it will be harder because we will argue about everything. The cost. The details. The letter of every law.

Read about the path to American prosperity in…

Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited

America’s Energy Future

Taking Science to School

Choosing the Nation’s Fiscal Future

Of course, some countries don’t have this problem. If the central government wants a railroad, they get a railroad – no matter how many homes are bulldozed. If they don’t want a bad story in the newspaper, it doesn’t get written.

And yet, as contentious and frustrating and messy as our democracy can sometimes be, I know there isn’t a person here who would trade places with any other nation on Earth.

We may have differences in policy, but we all believe in the rights enshrined in our Constitution. We may have different opinions, but we believe in the same promise that says this is a place where you can make it if you try. We may have different backgrounds, but we believe in the same dream that says this is a country where anything’s possible. No matter who you are. No matter where you come from.

That dream is why I can stand here before you tonight. That dream is why a working class kid from Scranton can stand behind me. That dream is why someone who began by sweeping the floors of his father’s Cincinnati bar can preside as Speaker of the House in the greatest nation on Earth.

That dream – that American Dream – is what drove the Allen Brothers to reinvent their roofing company for a new era. It’s what drove those students at Forsyth Tech to learn a new skill and work towards the future. And that dream is the story of a small business owner named Brandon Fisher.

Brandon started a company in Berlin, Pennsylvania that specializes in a new kind of drilling technology. One day last summer, he saw the news that halfway across the world, 33 men were trapped in a Chilean mine, and no one knew how to save them.

But Brandon thought his company could help. And so he designed a rescue that would come to be known as Plan B. His employees worked around the clock to manufacture the necessary drilling equipment. And Brandon left for Chile.

Along with others, he began drilling a 2,000 foot hole into the ground, working three or four days at a time with no sleep. Thirty-seven days later, Plan B succeeded, and the miners were rescued. But because he didn’t want all of the attention, Brandon wasn’t there when the miners emerged. He had already gone home, back to work on his next project.

Later, one of his employees said of the rescue, “We proved that Center Rock is a little company, but we do big things.”

We do big things.

From the earliest days of our founding, America has been the story of ordinary people who dare to dream. That’s how we win the future.

We are a nation that says, “I might not have a lot of money, but I have this great idea for a new company. I might not come from a family of college graduates, but I will be the first to get my degree. I might not know those people in trouble, but I think I can help them, and I need to try. I’m not sure how we’ll reach that better place beyond the horizon, but I know we’ll get there. I know we will.”

We do big things.

The idea of America endures. Our destiny remains our choice. And tonight, more than two centuries later, it is because of our people that our future is hopeful, our journey goes forward, and the state of our union is strong.

Thank you, God Bless You, and may God Bless the United States of America.

America’s Energy Future Wins 2010 Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic Titles Award

Americas Energy FutureAmerica’s Energy Future: Technology and Transformation was selected by Choice Magazine as one of 2010’s Outstanding Academic Titles. The book is a joint effort of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and National Research Council, and represents the culmination of the first phase of the America’s Energy Future Project. The authoring committee, chaired by Harold Shapiro of Princeton University, features the leading experts in energy today, including Steven Chu, current United States Secretary of Energy.

Every year Choice, a magazine published by the American Library Association, announces a list of Outstanding Academic Titles that were reviewed during the previous calendar year. This prestigious list reflects the best in scholarly titles reviewed by Choice and brings with it the extraordinary recognition of the academic library community. In awarding Outstanding Academic Titles, the editors apply several criteria to reviewed titles:

  • overall excellence in presentation and scholarship
  • importance relative to other literature in the field
  • distinction as a first treatment of a given subject in book or electronic form
  • originality or uniqueness of treatment
  • value to undergraduate students
  • importance in building undergraduate library collections

America’s Energy Future joins another National Academies Press book, Taking Science to School, on this prestigious list of award winners.

America’s Energy Future analyzes the potential of a wide range of technologies for generation, distribution, and conservation of energy. The book considers energy efficiency, coal-fired power generation, nuclear power, renewable energy, oil and natural gas, and alternative transportation fuels. It offers a detailed assessment of the associated impacts and projected costs of implementing each technology and categorizes them into three time frames for implementation.

Other titles in the America’s Energy Future collection include:

You can find more information about Choice magazine and the Outstanding Academic Titles Awards here.

America’s Energy Future is available for purchase here. The entire series of America’s Energy Future titles can be purchased as a set here.

Resources to Inform our Energy Future

As some of us prepare for holiday travel, it is fairly noticeable that gasoline prices have risen in recent weeks. U.S. prices currently range from $2.68/gallon in Denver to $3.29/gallon in San Francisco. According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the United States leads the world in petroleum consumption. As consumers look for ways to reduce their fuel costs by combining errands and other means, it’s a good time to look again at our energy prospects.

America’s Energy Future: Technology and Transformation assesses the status of energy-supply and end-use technologies in the United States, both at present and over the next two to three decades. It is intended to inform the development of comprehensive/sustainable energy policies by our nation’s decision makers and to provide the technical underpinnings for more detailed explorations of key energy-policy options. This book analyzes the potential of a wide range of technologies for generation, distribution, and conservation of energy.

Real Prospects for Energy Efficiency in the United States, part of the America’s Energy Future series, examines the potential for reducing energy demand through improving efficiency by using existing technologies, technologies developed but not yet widely utilized, and prospective technologies. According to this study, energy efficiency technologies that exist today or that are likely to be developed in the near future could save considerable money as well as energy. Fully adopting these technologies could lower projected U.S. energy use 17 percent to 20 percent by 2020, and 25 percent to 31 percent by 2030. This book evaluates technologies based on their estimated times to initial commercial deployment, and provides an analysis of costs, barriers, and research needs.

These titles, as well as others in the America’s Energy Future series, form a picture of our present situation and our choices for the future. The National Research Council has recently published a number of books on energy, all of which can inform and guide debate and decision-making.

America's Energy Future

America’s Energy Future: Technology and Transformation

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,… Details

Real Prospects for Energy Efficiency in the United States

Real Prospects for Energy Efficiency in the United States

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

Electricity from Renewable Resources

Electricity from Renewable Resources: Status, Prospects, and Impediments

A component in the America’s Energy Future study, Electricity from Renewable Resources examines the technical potential for electric power generation with alternative sources such as wind, solar-photovoltaic, geothermal, solar-thermal,…
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Liquid Transportation Fuels from Coal and Biomass

Liquid Transportation Fuels from Coal and Biomass: Technological Status, Costs, and Environmental Impacts

The transportation sector cannot continue on its current path: The volatility of oil prices threatens the U.S. economy, the large proportion of oil importation threatens U.S. energy security, and the massive contribution of greenhouse gases…
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Hidden Costs of Energy

Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use

Despite 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…
Details

Technologies and Approaches to Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles

Technologies and Approaches to Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles

Technologies and Approaches to Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles evaluates various technologies and methods that could improve the fuel economy of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, such as tractor-trailers, transit…
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Assessment of Fuel Economy Technologies for Light-Duty Vehicles

Assessment of Fuel Economy Technologies for Light-Duty Vehicles

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

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

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

Transitions to Alternative Transportation Technologies--A Focus on Hydrogen

Transitions to Alternative Transportation Technologies–A Focus on Hydrogen

Hydrogen 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…
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FREE FROM NAP: December 2010

Examination of Front-of-Package Nutrition Rating Systems and Symbols Examination of Front-of-Package Nutrition Rating Systems and Symbols: Phase I Report

The federal government requires that most packaged foods carry a standardized label–the Nutrition Facts panel–that provides nutrition information intended to help consumers make healthful choices. In recent years, manufacturers have begun to include…
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The Power of Renewables The Power of Renewables: Opportunities and Challenges for China and the United States

The United States and China are the world’s top two energy consumers and, as of 2010, the two largest economies. Consequently, they have a decisive role to play in the world’s clean energy future. Both countries are also motivated by related goals, namely…
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High School Dropout, Graduation, and Completion Rates High School Dropout, Graduation, and Completion Rates: Better Data, Better Measures, Better Decisions

High school graduation and dropout rates have long been used as indicators of educational system productivity and effectiveness and of social and economic well being. While determining these rates may seem like a straightforward task, their calculation is in…
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The Role of Human Factors in Home Health Care The Role of Human Factors in Home Health Care: Workshop Summary

The rapid growth of home health care has raised many unsolved issues and will have consequences that are far too broad for any one group to analyze in their entirety. Yet a major influence on the safety, quality, and effectiveness of home health care will be…
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Strengthening the National Institute of Justice Strengthening the National Institute of Justice

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is the nation’s primary resource for advancing scientific research, development, and evaluation on crime and crime control and the administration of justice in the United States. Headed by a presidentially appointed…
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The 2009 H1N1 Influenza Vaccination Campaign The 2009 H1N1 Influenza Vaccination Campaign: Summary of a Workshop Series

The 2009 H1N1 vaccination campaign was one of the largest public health campaigns in U.S. history, vaccinating one-quarter of the population in the first three months. The IOM held three workshops in Raleigh, NC; Austin, TX; and Seattle, WA to learn from…
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When Weather Matters When Weather Matters: Science and Service to Meet Critical Societal Needs

The past 15 years have seen marked progress in observing, understanding, and predicting weather. At the same time, the United States has failed to match or surpass progress in operational numerical weather prediction achieved by other nations and failed to…
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Research Priorities for Assessing Health Effects from the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Research Priorities for Assessing Health Effects from the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: A Letter Report

It is as yet uncertain how the Gulf of Mexico oil spill will affect the health of clean-up workers and volunteers, residents, and visitors in the Gulf. The IOM recommends that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services focus on researching psychological…
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Transforming Clinical Research in the United States Transforming Clinical Research in the United States: Challenges and Opportunities: Workshop Summary

An ideal health care system relies on efficiently generating timely, accurate evidence to deliver on its promise of diminishing the divide between clinical practice and research. There are growing indications, however, that the current health care system and…
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Critical Code Critical Code: Software Producibility for Defense

Critical Code contemplates Department of Defense (DoD) needs and priorities for software research and suggests a research agenda and related actions. Building on two prior books–Summary of a Workshop on Software Intensive Systems and…
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Take 5: Top 5 Books on Energy

The engineers and scientists on your list may not always be the easiest people to shop for during the holidays. It should come as no surprise that we have recommendations. Take five and finish your holiday shopping with our most-recommended books for the scientifically-minded.

America's Energy Future America’s Energy Future: Technology and Transformation: Summary Edition

Energy production and use touch our lives in countless ways. We are reminded of the cost of energy every time we fill up at the gas pump, pay an electricity bill, or purchase an airline ticket. Energy use also has important indirect impacts, not all of which…
Details

Hidden Costs of Energy Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use

Despite 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…
Details

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

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

Environmental Impacts of Wind-Energy Projects Environmental Impacts of Wind-Energy Projects

The generation of electricity by wind energy has the potential to reduce environmental impacts caused by the use of fossil fuels. Although the use of wind energy to generate electricity is increasing rapidly in the United States, government guidance to help…
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Coal Coal: Research and Development to Support National Energy Policy

Coal will continue to provide a major portion of energy requirements in the United States for at least the next several decades. It is imperative that accurate information describing the amount, location, and quality of the coal resources and reserves be…
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16 New Books: Greenhouse Gases, Gulf War and Health, Helium Reserve, and more

I hope that those of you in the U.S. had a happy and relaxing Independence Day weekend. We welcome you back to the working week with one of the biggest lists of new books that we’ve had since we’ve started posting them once a week here on Notes From NAP. There’s sixteen of them, the vast majority of which have free PDFs available.

Because of the high number of new books this week, we’re going to present it here as a simple list. If you have any comments or questions about Notes From NAP, feel free to contact us through this form. We’d love to get any feedback you might have.

New Publications This Week

Persistent Forecasting of Disruptive Technologies–Report 2 (final)

A Foundation for Evidence-Driven Practice: A Rapid Learning System for Cancer Care: Workshop Summary (final)

Strengthening the National Institute of Justice (prepublication)

Steps Toward Large-Scale Data Integration in the Sciences: Summary of a Workshop (final)

Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: Third Report (prepublication)

International Differences in Mortality at Older Ages: Dimensions and Sources (prepublication)

Toward Sustainable Agricultural Systems in the 21st Century (final)

Demographic Changes, a View from California: Implications for Framing Health Disparities: Workshop Summary (final)

Selling the Nation’s Helium Reserve (final)

Preparing Teachers: Building Evidence for Sound Policy (final)

Verifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Methods to Support International Climate Agreements (final)

Certifiably Sustainable?: The Role of Third-Party Certification Systems: Report of a Workshop (final)

Promoting Cardiovascular Health in the Developing World: A Critical Challenge to Achieve Global Health (final)

Realizing the Energy Potential of Methane Hydrate for the United States (final)

Gulf War and Health: Volume 8: Update of Health Effects of Serving in the Gulf War (final)

Envisioning the 2020 Census (final)