USGS + NOAA = Monster Earth Sciences Bureaucracy

In an article published in the journal Science, a group of former senior federal officials call for the establishment of an independent Earth Systems Science Agency (ESSA) to meet the unprecedented environmental and economic challenges facing the nation. They propose forming the new agency by merging the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). See complete story here in Science Daily.

One of the proponents said: “It isn’t often that we are offered a real opportunity to make government work better. But the modest, sensible reorganization proposed here brings a new science-rich focus on some of our biggest contemporary challenges.”

Hmm, that quote brings this image to mind:

Train Wreck

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D Ritchison
July 4, 2008 11:39 am

Let’s hope the fiasco (a train wreck to steal from Anthony’s picture) of the creation of Homeland Security Department’s huge bureaucracy is a lesson that will be learned and this idea will go away quickly.

July 4, 2008 11:58 am

I think a gravy train is more of what they have in mind. According to the link they are already planning the budget for the non-excitant agency.

Tom Johnson
July 4, 2008 12:01 pm

The Department of Homeland Security has done so well.
The Border Fence is complete. All shipments into the US are inspected.
Anybody can make a mistake.
But to create a total catastrophe requires a large Government agency.
VA Hospital, anyone?

July 4, 2008 12:10 pm

Re: USGS + NOAA = Monster Earth Sciences Bureaucracy:
“You will never understand bureaucracies until you understand that for bureaucrats, procedure is everything and outcomes are nothing.”
~Thomas Sowell
“Bureaucracy is the death of all sound work.”
~Albert Einstein
“Any change is resisted because bureaucrats have a vested interest in the chaos in which they exist.”
~Richard M. Nixon
“Congress, the press, and the bureaucracy too often focus on how much money or effort is spent, rather than whether the money or effort actually achieves the announced goal.”
~Donald Rumsfeld
“Bureaucracy, the rule of no one, has become the modern form of despotism.”
~Mary McCarthy
“If an idea can survive a bureaucratic review and be implemented it wasn’t worth doing.”
“If you are going to sin, sin against God, not the bureaucracy. God will forgive you but the bureaucracy won’t.”
“Bureaucracy is the death of any acheivement.”
~Albert Einstein
And of course, this giant new bureaucracy will require a constantly growing slew of unnecessary new costs and expenses, which will be passed on to the already hard-bitten taxpayer.
“I sit on a man’s back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure others that I am very sorry for him, and wish to ease his burden by all possible means — except by getting off his back.”
~Leo Tolstoy

July 4, 2008 12:12 pm

Homeland Security was the first thing that came to my mind as well.
Let’s make even more bureaucracy!

July 4, 2008 12:14 pm

Every new CEO claims that he faces “unprecedented challenges”, as does very politician new to office: bah, humbug.

Bill Illis
July 4, 2008 12:22 pm

Hopefully, the geologist’s rigour and long history of developing scientific methods to prove theories will wear-off on the climatologists.

retired engineer
July 4, 2008 12:47 pm

Well, at least they didn’t propose creating a totally new agency, in addition to NOAA and USGS.
The goal of any bureaucracy is to remain. A bureaucracy. And to get a bit more funding than last year. Or a lot more. They must be salivating at the thought of all the new rules and regulations they could create.

Stan Jones
July 4, 2008 1:04 pm

Wonder what their definition of independent is?
Independent of external scrutiny, I imagine.

Tom in Florida
July 4, 2008 1:23 pm

“…predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them. ” Thomas Jefferson

July 4, 2008 1:54 pm

I think that it is a step in the right direction but GISS should be included, sans Hansen.

Mike Walsh
July 4, 2008 2:10 pm

Pournelles Iron Law of Bureaucracy:
In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely.
The corollary is that those people in charge will always do everything in their power to make the bureaucracy thrive (more staff, more budget, higher taxes to ensure the budget, laws to ensure collection of said taxes, etc), even to the detriment of the actual goals.
Robert Ray According to the link they are already planning the budget for the non-excitant agency.
I assume that was a typo…..but I must congratulate you on one of the most appropriate mis-spellings I’ve seen in a long time. 🙂

July 4, 2008 2:24 pm

since the AGU has endorsed AGW I’m not surprised

Leon Brozyna
July 4, 2008 2:41 pm

In the corporate world, when departments are merged for efficiency, jobs that overlap are eliminated. In the fantasyland of government this would doubtless require more manpower and of course more money.
So, if the forecast is for thunderstorms don’t be surprised if you get an earthquake instead.

Evan Jones
July 4, 2008 2:42 pm

USGS + NOAA = Monster Earth Sciences Bureaucracy:
Ugh. All based on the inalterable, unfalsifiable premise that global warming is coming to get us. Oh, great.
I think I finally hear that great sucking sound I didn’t hear when we went for free trade!

July 4, 2008 2:42 pm

From the article:
The authors recommend that no less than 25 percent of the new agency’s budget be devoted to grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements with academic and nonprofit institutions.
Well, there you have it. The dough is spread around, and the fix is in. Guess who will have to pay that extra 25%?
Just about the entire AGW hypothesis is being fueled by public grant money — and now the prospect of much more where that came from, to be paid into “cooperative agreements with academic and nonprofit institutions.” ‘Nonprofit’ presumably includes the World Wildlife Fund,, the Sierra Club and similar agenda driven, non-government entities.
The words “global warming” and “climate change” are already being written into every possible university grant request for federal dollars on the principle that if you want pigeons, throw out bird seed.
The article also states that this giant new bureaucracy will focus on “…predicting changes that will take place over the next hundred years.” A lot of resistance to this proposal would be reduced if taxpayer funding was tied to the accuracy of the USGSNOAA’s predictions. Fat chance of that happening. Since when have universities ever been held accountable for the way the spend grant money?
More FTA:
According to Donald Kennedy, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and past president of Stanford University, “It isn’t often that we are offered a real opportunity to make government work better. But the modest, sensible reorganization proposed here brings a new science-rich focus on some of our biggest contemporary challenges.” Kennedy also stresses the importance of linking ESSA’s activities with the tremendous talent in the nation’s universities.
I would be interested in hearing Kennedy’s definition of ‘modest.’

Evan Jones
July 4, 2008 2:55 pm

I would be interested in hearing Kennedy’s definition of ‘modest.’</cite)
It means they don’t refer to the naughty bits.

July 4, 2008 2:56 pm

It started as a typo but when I ran spellcheck the current form was one of the suggestions, so I used it instead of non-existing. Put it down to a blind hog finding an acorn.

David Segesta
July 4, 2008 3:22 pm

Anthony I know this isn’t political website, but are you a Libertarian? Or at least a libertarian?

July 4, 2008 3:48 pm

Thanks for your well organized reading of the article. And your quote from Tolstoy is a gem. I saw it long ago but it had escaped my memory.

Lloyd Graves
July 4, 2008 4:17 pm

Perhaps a Reagan quote is in order “The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program.” – Ronald Reagan

July 4, 2008 4:46 pm

Michael Crichton has an excellent and relevant proposal.
Sooner or later, we must form an independent research institute in this country. It must be funded by industry, by government, and by private philanthropy, both individuals and trusts. The money must be pooled, so that investigators do not know who is paying them. The institute must fund more than one team to do research in a particular area, and the verification of results will be a foregone requirement: teams will know their results will be checked by other groups. In many cases, those who decide how to gather the data will not gather it, and those who gather the data will not analyze it. If we were to address the land temperature records with such rigor, we would be well on our way to an understanding of exactly how much faith we can place in global warming, and therefore what seriousness we must address this.
And I’d add, independent third party audits.
These kinds of separation of responsibility are legally required in business to prevent errors and outright fraud.
Whether or not errors or fraud occur in climate science is irrelevant. The purpose of the procedures is to prevent it happening.
In business, if you told an auditor that you didn’t need these procedures, because there is no fraud in your company, they would roll around the floor laughing. And trust me, auditors don’t laugh often.

July 4, 2008 5:27 pm

I’m an Independent, but I recall another quote appropriate for today:
“Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, but the Democrats believe every day is April 15th.”
~Ronald Reagan

Evan Jones
July 4, 2008 6:02 pm

FWIW, I am a liberal Republican.

July 4, 2008 6:25 pm

Did you see what else was in Science? Greenland western glaciers slowed over last 17 years. Seems ice surges are very brief. Article doesn’t mention they also happen in the summer, when the ice surge scientists are there measuring. NewsBusters summarizes.

July 5, 2008 2:17 am

And who would lead this monster new unelected branch of government masquerading as a scientific insitution?
James Hansen.
The USA’s own Trofim Lysenko.

Chris Hanley
July 5, 2008 2:56 am

The image says it all.

July 5, 2008 8:05 am

You’ve got that right. One of my previous self-employment careers was auditing hospitals for overcharges for clients (insurance companies). I told daughter when she was expecting her first child to keep a close eye on her bills and hold on to her wallet, because she was going to be egregiously overcharged even with insurance. She did not believe me and was not sufficiently motivated to audit her charges.
With her second child, money was tighter. She went over every charge for medication, procedures, etc. She was shocked to discover that her obstetrician’s office alone had overcharged her by $800 that she had paid out of her own pocket.
I shudder to think of the errors, some deliberate and some by incompetence, that are not challenged in areas that are not audited.

July 5, 2008 11:39 am

Would NOAA and USGS even want to merge? Government agencies rarely want to merge. The head of at least one agency would no longer head an agency.

July 5, 2008 6:09 pm

Oh cool. All Jim Hansen needs is someone with a geologist’s sense of time to point out he needs to look a timeframe that is 1000X longer. And another geologist to point out some of the catastrophes that put to shame anything anthropogenic CO2 can dish out.
I’m not a geologist, but I like to claim that the biggest catastrophe that has affected life on Earth was the development of photosynthesis. The shift from a reducing atmosphere to an oxidizing one forced the dominant lifeforms (bacteria) underground. They’re still around as anaerobic bacteria, and still play a vital role, but their niche became a lot smaller.
Photosynthesis also made CO2 a trace gas.

July 5, 2008 9:17 pm

All Jim Hansen needs is someone with a geologist’s sense of time to point out he needs to look a timeframe that is 1000X longer.

I think geologists have accepted that the Sun is the cause of the global warming which will destroy life on Earth when the Sun turns into a red giant. I doubt Hansen’s computers can handle geological time scales…or contemporary time scales.

Jamie J
August 22, 2008 9:00 am

Ric Werme:
AGW is alive and well in the USGS.

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