Science Policy For All

Because science policy affects everyone.

Science Policy Around the Web – September 10, 2015

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By: Courtney Pinard, Ph.D.

Kris Krüg via Photo Pin cc

Climate Change

California leads the way to curb greenhouse gas emissions

California lawmakers are debating a new bill to curb greenhouse gas emissions. This bill comes after President Obama’s visit to Alaska, during which he declared that the fight against climate change is an urgent national priority. The bill aims to double energy efficiency in buildings, cut petroleum use in half, and derive 50% of electricity from renewable sources in California, all by 2030. While oil industry advocates assert that the bill will result in gas rationing and a ban on minivans, there is no language in the bill to support these claims. Backers of the bill said that reductions would be achieved instead by increasing the fuel efficiency of existing cars, expanding the number of electric cars, and using innovative technologies and incentives to make buildings more energy efficient. Washington, D.C.-based Resources for the Future says these goals are both ambitious and feasible. (Adam Nagourney, New York Times; Pauline Bartonlone, NPR)


International group approves genetic editing of human embryos for basic research

A consortium on stem cells, ethics, and law, comprised of members from eight countries, decided that editing human embryos to research early human development and disease is ethically justifiable. The decision comes after a few months after Chinese scientists published the first paper describing the use of the genome editing technique, CRISPR/Cas9, in human embryos. One possible application of the technique is to introduce genetic changes in immune cells to prevent HIV infection. Although the gene changes in the Chinese study were minimal and were not used for reproductive purposes, the work ignited debate and criticism among scientists and bioethicists. Members of the consortium met earlier this week and issued the following statement: “We believe that while this technology has tremendous value to basic research and enormous potential for somatic clinical uses, it is not sufficiently developed to consider human genome editing for clinical reproductive purposes at this time.” (Gretchen Vogel, ScienceInsider)

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Written by sciencepolicyforall

September 10, 2015 at 9:00 am

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