Aug 29, 2017

House Republican introduces measure to defund key climate research

Ross D. Franklin / AP

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) submitted an amendment last week to the House Rules Committee for the federal government's 2018 spending bill that would prevent any appropriated funds from being used toward the government's National Climate Assessment.

What the NCA does: From the 2014 assessment: "This National Climate Assessment collects, integrates, and assesses [climate change] observations and research from around the country, helping us to see what is actually happening and understand what it means for our lives, our livelihoods, and our future." It is supposed to be published every four years.

Why it matters: While Biggs' amendment was one of hundreds that will be considered when the House takes up the bill next week, it was singled out in a congressional update email sent yesterday to senior management of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research — the federal government's foremost environmental research arm.

Biggs' own words on climate change: "I do not think that humans have a significant impact on climate. The federal government should stop regulating and stomping on our economy and freedoms in the name of a discredited theory." Neither Biggs' office nor the NOAA immediately responded to a request for comment on his amendment.

Why NOAA might be concerned: Just days ago, the Trump administration disbanded a key advisory committee for the NCA designed to help public and private officials interpret and incorporate the report's long-term recommendations, per WaPo. Though the NOAA said that the fourth NCA "remains a key priority," the White House clearly isn't on the same page.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 716,101 — Total deaths: 33,854 — Total recoveries: 148,900.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 136,880 — Total deaths: 2,409 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: The first federal prisoner to die from coronavirus was reported from a correctional facility in Louisiana on Sunday.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
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Trump touts press briefing "ratings" as U.S. coronavirus case surge

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump sent about a half-dozen tweets on Sunday touting the high television ratings that his coronavirus press briefings have received, selectively citing a New York Times article that compared them to "The Bachelor" and "Monday Night Football."

Why it matters: The president has been holding daily press briefings in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic was declared, but news outlets have struggled with how to cover them live — as Trump has repeatedly been found to spread misinformation and contradict public health officials.

World coronavirus updates: Total cases surge to over 700,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

There are now than more than 700,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins. The virus has now killed more than 32,000 people — with Italy alone reporting over 10,000 deaths.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Saturday he would issue a "strong" travel advisory for New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut.

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