A Letter to President Obama

34 Nobel winners write Obama about lack of support for energy R&D in climate/energy bill.
This letter was sent to the White House on July 16:

The Honorable Barack H. Obama
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

You have repeatedly and appropriately called for a Clean Energy Technology Fund of $150 billion over ten years that could be funded from receipts collected from a greenhouse gas cap and trade program. The stable support this Fund would provide is essential to pay for the research and development needed if the U.S., as well as the developing world, are to achieve their goals in reducing greenhouse gases at an affordable cost.

This stable R&D spending is not a luxury. It is in fact necessary because rapid scientific and technical progress is crucial to achieving these goals, and to making the cost affordable.

We are concerned that “The American Clean Energy and Security Act” (H.R. 2454) that recently passed the House provides less than one fifteenth of the amount you proposed for federal energy research, development, and demonstration programs. The legislation provides no stable, specific funding for sustained research in the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science, or for the energy research and associated technology development programs of DOE (at the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Electricity Deliverability, Fossil, and Nuclear offices).

Given the expected growing federal budget deficits, and the corresponding pressure on the government’s discretionary budget, this is a serious deficiency.

We hope that you will urge the Congress to send you a bill that will invest in energy research, development, and demonstration at an amount approaching the stable $15 billion annual support that you have proposed.

We stand ready to assist you in any way we can.


Paul Berg, Physics 1980
Stanley Cohen, Physiology or Medicine 1986
Robert F. Curl, Jr., Chemistry 1996
Johann Deisenhofer, Chemistry 1988
Val L. Fitch, Physics 1980
Jerome Friedman, Physics 1990
Sheldon Glashow, Physics 1979
Roy Glauber, Physics 2005
Dudley R. Herschbach, Chemistry 1986
Wolfgang Ketterle, Physics 2001
Roger D. Kornberg, Chemistry 2006
Herbert Kroemer, Physics 2000
Robert B. Laughlin, Physics 1998
Leon Lederman, Physics 1988
Anthony Leggett, Physics 2003
John Mather, Physics 2006
Marshall Nirenberg, Medicine 1968
George A. Olah, Chemistry 1994
Douglas Osheroff, Physics 1996
Arno Penzias, Physics 1978
Martin L. Perl, Physics 1995
William D. Phillips, Physics 1997
David Politzer, Physics 2004
Robert C. Richardson, Physics 1996
Burton Richter, Physics 1976
F. Sherwood Rowland, Chemistry 1995
Phillip A. Sharp, Physiology or Medicine 1993
George Smoot, Physics 2006
Horst Stormer, Physics 1998
Richard Taylor, Physics 1990
Daniel Tsui, Physics 1998
Steven Weinberg, Physics 1979
Frank Wilczek, Physics 2004
Robert W. Wilson, Physics 1978