Tackling Climate Change, Iraqi Science, and Animal-Rights Extremists

Here's a roundup of some of the science policy stories we covered this past week on Science's policy blog, ScienceInsider.

The FBI is investigating the 7 March firebombing of a UCLA neuroscientist's car by animal-rights extremists. It's the latest in a string of terror attacks on University of California scientists that goes back to 2006. The university and local authorities are offering a reward of $445,000 for information related to the incident. The targeted scientist was not identified by authorities.

ScienceInsider revealed that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is looking into funding research on geoengineering, the deliberate tinkering with Earth's climate to combat global warming. The secretive and risk-taking agency sponsored a nonclassified meeting this week in Palo Alto, California, to explore the topic. But at least one invited climate scientist feels that the military shouldn't be helping to develop such techniques.

A Washington, D.C. meeting was convened to brainstorm ways to help the Iraqi academic and research enterprise get back on its feet. Despite billions of dollars in aid to the war-torn nation since the U.S. invasion in 2003, presenters at the conference reported little progress in rebuilding the scientific infrastructure. Among the ideas floated were fellowships to encourage young Iraqi scientists to visit the United States, but participants fear that could result in a brain drain.

Finally, in more sobering news from the Copenhagen Climate Congress, ScienceInsider blogged on alarming new results regarding polar ice shrinkage and the unappreciated threat of soil carbon. Researchers at the meeting also released a new scheme aimed at more fairly distributing emissions allocation certificates under a future greenhouse emissions cap, starting with the principle that every human should operate under the same emissions limit. And is Denmark really the green role model it advertises itself as?

For more stories and the best science policy news on the web, check out ScienceInsider.