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Blog Category: Global

Secretary Locke Completes Clean Energy Trade Mission to China

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke addresses students and scientists at China’s prestigious Tsinghua University.Secretary Locke wrapped up his China clean energy trade mission – the first Cabinet-level trade mission of the Obama administration –  Friday in Beijing. Over the last week, Locke visited Hong Kong and Shanghai and will continue on to Jakarta, Indonesia on Tuesday after participating in the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

Throughout the mission Locke focused on opportunities for U.S.-China collaboration in the clean energy market and the special responsibility the two countries have to lead the way in combating global climate change. 

At his last stop in Beijing, Locke engaged in a first-of-its-kind dialogue and live webchat with Tsinghua University students and scientists who are working on cutting-edge, clean-energy technologies. Locke told the students that the United States, China and the entire world are counting on bright, motivated people to discover new energy technologies to reach energy efficiency goals while creating jobs in China and the United States.

He also visited the United Family Hospital New Hope Cancer Treatment Center, a joint U.S.-China venture featuring nearly $6 million worth of U.S. exports of medical technology.

In China, Locke traveled with representatives of 24 U.S. businesses. Ten executives will be continuing on with him to Jakarta, Indonesia, along with representatives from the Trade Development Agency (TDA), Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM).

The clean energy trade mission comes on the heels of President Obama’s call to double U.S. exports in the next five years and support 2 million American jobs.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke engages in a dialogue with 
students at Tsinghua University  working on , clean-energy tech

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke engages in a dialogue with students and scientists working on cutting-edge, clean-energy technologies at China’s prestigious Tsinghua University.  The dialogue featured live questions from Chinese “netizens,” and a transcript of the event was streamed live on the Global Times Web site and later re-posted on NetEase.com.

Commerce Department Recruiting Industry Experts to Serve on New Advisory Council on Minority Business

Comerce seal

The Commerce Department is recruiting leaders from the private sector to serve on the National Advisory Council on Minority Business Enterprise (NACMBE). The council will provide advice and guidance to the Secretary on key issues, including policies that would best position minority-owned firms to compete in the global economy: access to capital, expanded participation in emerging industries, and improved access to the global supply chains of the world’s largest corporations. Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) will assist the Secretary in overseeing the Advisory Council. (More) (Nomination notice)

Commerce's NOAA Tracks Ash from Iceland Volcano

Image of video screen. Click to go to video clip.

Credit: NOAA/EUMESTAT/NASA

The eruption of a volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier of Iceland on Wednesday, April 14, sent ripple effects around the globe as it halted international flights to and from Northern Europe. Airborne volcanic ash posed a threat to jet engines, and to prevent disaster, air traffic controllers grounded planes. From the earliest moments of the eruption, a global network of Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers began monitoring the ash plume and the appropriate centers issued advisories about flow of the ash through the atmosphere. There are nine such centers, each responsible for a defined geographic region. (More) (Video clip) (Image of ash cloud)

NOAA: Global Temps Push Last Month Hottest March on Record

Temperature anomolies map. Click for larger image.

The world’s combined global land and ocean surface temperature made last month the warmest March on record, according to Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Taken separately, average ocean temperatures were the warmest for any March and the global land surface was the fourth warmest for any March on record. Additionally, the planet has seen the fourth warmest January-March period on record. The monthly National Climatic Data Center analysis, which is based on records going back to 1880. (More) (Temperature anomalies graphic). (State of the Climate report)

NOAA: Sixth-Warmest February in Combined Global Surface Temperature, Fifth-Warmest December-February

Last month’s combined global land and ocean surface temperature made it the sixth-warmest February ever recorded. Additionally, the December 2009-February 2010 period was the fifth-warmest on record averaged for any similar three-month Northern Hemisphere winter-Southern Hemisphere summer season, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. Based on records going back to 1880, the monthly NCDC analysis is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides to businesses, communities and governments so they may make informed decisions to safeguard their social and economic well-being. (More)

USPTO and UKIPO Announce Action Plan to Reduce Global Patent Backlogs

USPTO seal

Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) today agreed to develop an action plan for reducing patent processing backlogs in both offices. Patent backlogs hinder the deployment of innovation and have clear adverse effects on the global economy. According to a study by London Economics released on behalf of the UKIPO, the first study that attempts to quantify the economic impact of patent backlogs, the cost to the global economy of the delay in processing patent applications may be as much as £7.65 ($11.4) billion each year. (More)

President Obama Signs the Travel Promotion Act of 2009 into Law

Secretary Locke at far left watches as President Obama signs Act. Click for larger image.

White House photo

President Obama signed the Travel Promotion Act of 2009 (TPA) into law, putting into place a new public-private partnership between the U.S. government and the nation’s travel and tourism industry. The U.S. Department of Commerce stands ready to work with the private sector to promote international travel to the United States. “When international visitors come to the United States they spend money on a wide range of goods and services that support U.S. jobs,” said Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke. “Creating a global tourism promotion program to encourage international visitors to vacation in America will help spur economic growth and create more jobs,” Locke said. (More)

NOAA: December Global Ocean Temperature Second-Warmest on Record

Image of the world's oceans.

The global ocean surface temperature was the second-warmest on record for December, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., and based on records going back to 1880. Scientists also reported the combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the eighth-warmest on record for December. For 2009, global temperatures tied with 2006 as the fifth-warmest on record. Also, the earth’s land surface for 2009 was seventh-warmest (tied with 2003) and the ocean surface was fourth-warmest (tied with 2002 and 2004.) (More)

Secretary Locke Announces $15.6 Million Grant to restore St. Louis Port

Secretary Locke with Commerce seal and flag in background.

File photo

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced a $15.6 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to reconstruct the St. Louis Municipal Terminal’s South Dock, which was damaged by extensive flooding in 2008. Three local St. Louis businesses served by the port met with Locke and Mayor Francis Slay before a City Hall news conference this morning to discuss the impact of ensuring the continuation of the area’s supply chain of river-related commerce. “Reconstruction of the critically important South Dock saves existing jobs and creates new ones by strengthening local connections to the global marketplace,” Locke said. (More) (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Opens the Bright Green Expo in Copenhagen

Secretary Locke at podium, Bright Green Expo. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke spoke at the opening ceremony of the Bright Green Expo today at the U.N. Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen. The U.S. Department of Commerce, along with the Confederation of Danish Industry, hosted Bright Green to showcase companies, including dozens of U.S. companies that are already leading the way with innovation and intelligent technologies as the solution to the global climate challenge. Locke viewed the technologies on display and expressed support for what businesses are doing to transform the way the world uses energy. (Remarks) (Commerce at COP-15/Blog)

Secretary Locke Blogs from Copenhagen Climate Summit

Locke gesturing from podium with pen in hand.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke blogged on the Commerce Department’s COP-15 Web site today about his experiences thus far at the landmark conference on global climate change. In the post, Locke urges the country to seize the opportunity presented by comprehensive energy legislation to limit our dependence on foreign oil, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create clean energy businesses and jobs. “America has the ability and the obligation to preserve our planet and create good, new jobs,” Secretary Locke said. (Commerce Copenhagen Web site)

Commerce Deputy Secretary Hightower Promotes Export Opportunities to Small Businesses

Hightower on podium. Click for larger image.

Commerce Deputy Secretary Dennis F. Hightower met with small business owners to discuss the key role exports will play in Detroit’s economic recovery. During his address at the “ExportsLive! Real Deals—Real Profits” seminar, Hightower stressed how exports will help revive businesses and create good-paying jobs. The gathering of small business leaders is geared toward helping companies grow and expand in global markets. The seminar was organized by the Export-Import Bank and included the participation of six federal agencies. (More) (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Discusses Clean Energy Jobs in Copenhagen

Locke gesturing from the podium. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke delivered the keynote address at the “Clean Energy Jobs in the Global Marketplace” forum at the U.N. Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen today. Locke discussed the Obama administration’s historic investments in clean energy and commitment to build a sustainable, clean energy global economy that drives investment and creates jobs at home and abroad. While President Obama has already done more to mitigate climate change than any president in U.S. history, Locke stressed that this is only the beginning of what must be done. (Remarks)

NOAA: U.S. Temperatures Slightly Above Average, Precipitation Above Normal for 2009

Map showing U.S. temeperatures. Click for full-size map.

Global surface temperatures for 2009 will be well above the long-term average, while the annual temperature for the contiguous United States will likely be above the long-term average, according to a preliminary analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The analysis is based on global records, which began in 1880 and U.S. records beginning in 1895. (More) (Temp map) (Precip map) (Precip 1895-2009 graph)

NOAA: North American 2008 Cooling Attributed to Natural Causes

NOAA map

Cooler North American temperatures in 2008 resulted from a strong natural effect, and the overall warming trend that has been observed since 1970 is likely to resume, according to university and NOAA scientists. “Our work shows that there can be cold periods, but that does not mean the end of global warming. The recent coolness was caused by transitory natural factors that temporarily masked the human-caused signal,” said Judith Perlwitz, lead author of the study and a researcher with the Cooperative Institute for Research Environmental Sciences, and NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory. (More)

NOAA Reports Combined Global Surface Temperature Was Sixth Warmest for October

Photo of melting ice in Arctic Ocean.

The combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the sixth warmest October on record, according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. Based on records going back to 1880, the monthly National Climatic Data Center analysis is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides. NCDC scientists reported that the average land surface temperature for October was also the sixth warmest on record. Additionally, the global ocean surface temperature was the fifth warmest on record for October. (More)

Secretary Locke Addresses National DEC Conference on Importance of Exporting

District Export Council logo. Click to go to Web site.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke spoke at the National District Export Council Conference (DEC). Locke discussed efforts to promote the sale of U.S. goods and services overseas, efforts that will create sustainable economic growth and good-paying jobs. Exporters from around the country discussed trade issues and exporting best practices. This year’s theme was “Global Competitiveness and the Opportunities for U.S. Exporters.” U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills, and Export-Import Bank Chairman and President Fred Hochberg joined Locke at the conference. (More) (Remarks)

NOAA Scientists Undertake In-Flight Study of Global Levels of Greenhouse Gas Distribution

Image of research plane with mountains in the background. Click for larger image.

Scientists from Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) began the second phase of a mission that will provide a detailed view of how carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are distributed globally. “Missions such as this one are critical to understanding the impacts of greenhouse gases and particulates,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., NOAA Administrator. “The data collected are also essential to help verify if policies to reduce these heat trapping pollutants are having their intended effect.” (More)

Secretary Locke Announces $8.65 Million in EDA Grants in Four States to Create Jobs, Strengthen the Economy

Economic Development Administration seal. Click to go to EDA Web site.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced $8.65 million in Economic Development Administration (EDA) grants in four states, including Pittsburgh, Penn., Fairmont, W.Va., Davis, W.Va., Roseburg, Ore. and Eagle Pass, Texas. EDA is an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce that partners with distressed communities throughout the United States to foster economic growth and job creation.Its mission is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting innovation and competitiveness and preparing American regions for growth and success in the global economy.

Locke Urges Western Hemisphere to 'Resist the Protectionist Temptation' at ACF in Santiago

Secretary Locke with ACF logo behind him. Click for larger image.

As economies around the world continue to deal with the effects of the global economic slowdown, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke urged countries of the Western Hemisphere to resist temptations to turn inward and erect trade barriers during a keynote address at the third Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF) in Santiago, Chile. “The United States is committed to resisting the protectionist temptation because protectionism simply does not work,” said Locke. “I came to Chile this week to affirm that the Obama administration will be your strongest ally in your efforts to revive economic growth in the Americas.” (More) (Remarks) (Release)

Secretary Locke Conducts Swearing In Ceremony for Deputy Secretary Dennis F. Hightower

Locke shakes hands with Hightoweras Dori Bye Hightower looks on. Click for larger image that includes more family members.

Secretary Gary Locke conducted the ceremonial swearing in ceremony for U.S. Commerce Deputy Secretary Dennis F. Hightower. Hightower will lead the charge to improve the Department’s efficiency, effectiveness and performance management. As deputy secretary, he will play a key role in ensuring that the United States continues to advance its direction as a global leader in innovation, growth and job creation. Hightower is a decorated Vietnam War veteran, a graduate of Howard University and Harvard Business School, and has established an accomplished business-centric career in the private sector for more than 20 years. (Secretary’s remarks) (Deputy Secretary’s remarks)

NOAA: Warmest Global Sea-Surface Temperatures for August and Summer

NOAA Visualization

The world’s ocean surface temperature was the warmest for any August on record, and the warmest on record averaged for any June-August (Northern Hemisphere summer/Southern Hemisphere winter) season according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The preliminary analysis is based on records dating back to 1880. NCDC scientists also reported that the combined average global land and ocean surface temperature for August was the second-warmest on record, behind 1998. For the June-August 2009 season, the combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the third-warmest on record. (More)

Secretary Locke Statement on President Obama's Intent to Nominate Gallagher as Director of NIST

Portrait of Patrick Gallagher.

President Barack Obama today announced his intent to nominate physicist Patrick Gallagher to be the 14th director of the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Gallagher, 46, is currently the NIST deputy director. “NIST is a unique agency with a strong culture of world-class scientific achievement,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “Pat Gallagher has come up through the ranks and his continued leadership will be critical to an agency that is central to the nation’s ability to innovate and compete in global markets.” (More) (White House Press Release) (Bio)

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NOAA Administrator Lubchenco, Head of U.S. Delegation, Concludes World Climate Conference-3 in Geneva, Delivers Closing Statement

Lubchenco on podium. Click for larger image.

Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) administrator, led a U.S. delegation to Geneva, Switzerland, Aug. 31-Sept. 4 for the World Climate Conference-3 in efforts to establish a Global Framework for Climate Services. This framework is intended to help meet accelerating demands for useful information on the impacts of climate change (Closing Delegation Statement) (Sept. 3 Lubchenco Statement)

NOAA Administrator to Lead U.S. Delegation to World Climate Conference-3

NOAA seal.

Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator, will lead a U.S. delegation to Geneva, Switzerland, August 31- September 4 for the World Climate Conference-3 in efforts to establish a Global Framework for Climate Services. This framework is intended to help meet accelerating demands for useful information on the impacts of climate change.U.S. officials from more than 10 government agencies and departments will be actively engaged at the conference, learning from the international community and sharing American knowledge and innovations. (More)

NOAA: Warmest Global Ocean Surface Temperatures on Record for July

Image of Earth featuring oceans. Click for larger image.

The planet’s ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for July, breaking the previous high mark established in 1998, according to an analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The combined average global land and ocean surface temperature for July 2009 ranked fifth-warmest since world-wide records began in 1880. The July ocean surface temperature departure of 1.06 degrees F from the long-term average equals last month’s value, which was also a record. (More) (National Climatic Data Center) (June Analysis)

Secretary Locke: 'Trade is Good for America, Good for the Global Marketplace'

Photo of Locke on podium.

File Photo

In remarks to the Washington International Trade Association, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke laid out his prescriptions for how the department can help increase and improve American trade and exports. “The trade priorities I’ve discussed tonight—visa reform, export controls review, intellectual property protection, intergovernmental cooperation and trade promotion—will help U.S. companies increase exports, while setting the country on a path to long-term, sustainable growth that creates jobs here at home.” (More)

NOAA: Global Ocean Surface Temperature Warmest on Record for June

Image of Earth featuring oceans. Click for larger image.

The world’s ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for June, breaking the previous high mark set in 2005, according to a preliminary analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., a bureau of the Department of Commerce. Additionally, the combined average global land and ocean surface temperature for June was the second-warmest on record. The global records began in 1880. (More) (National Climatic Data Center)

Secretaries Locke and Chu to Travel to China, Focus on Clean Energy Jobs, Business and Technology

Secretaries Locke and Chu at White House press conference.

File Photo

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Energy Secretary Steven Chu will travel to China on Tuesday, July 14. During their four-day visit, the two secretaries will highlight the tremendous potential for mutually beneficial relationships in the clean energy sector. “Today, we are more interdependent with China than at any point in the last 30 years,” Locke said. “The relationship between our two countries is of critical importance, and while great progress has been made in our cooperation on economic, trade and global terrorism fronts, there's much more to do.”

El Niño Arrives: Expected to Persist Through Winter 2009-2010

Image of sea surface temperatures along the equatorial Eastern Pacific, as of July 1. Click for larger image.

The Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced the arrival of El Niño, a climate phenomenon with a significant influence on global weather, ocean conditions and marine fisheries. El Niño, the periodic warming of central and eastern tropical Pacific waters, occurs on average every two to five years and typically lasts about 12 months. NOAA expects this El Niño to continue developing during the next several months, with further strengthening possible. The event is expected to last through winter 2009-2010. (More) (Animation)

Secretary Locke to Accompany President Obama to Russia

File photo portrait of Secretary Locke.

File Photo

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will travel to Moscow, July 6-8, in conjunction with the Presidential Summit Meeting between Presidents Obama and Medvedev. Locke will represent the administration at a private sector Business Summit where U.S. and Russian business leaders will present recommendations to expand bilateral commercial cooperation. This will be Locke’s first overseas trip as Secretary of Commerce. While in Moscow, he will meet with the Minister of Economic Development Elvira Nabiullina to discuss U.S.-Russian economic and commercial relations and Russia’s integration into the global economy. (More)

Report Released on National, Regional Impacts of Global Climate Change

Image of washed-out highway by flood waters. Click for larger image.

A new report, “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States,” compiles years of scientific research and takes into account new data not available during the preparation of previous large national and global assessments. It was produced by a consortium of experts from13 U.S. government science agencies and from several major universities and research institutes. A product of the interagency U.S. Global Change Research Program, the definitive 190-page report, produced under NOAA’s leadership, is written in plain language to better inform members of the public and policymakers. (More) (Report Information)

President Obama Proclaims World Trade Week

Official White House logo.

In a proclamation from the White House, President Barack Obama declared “World Trade Week is an opportunity to reaffirm the benefits of trade and to emphasize America's commitment to a global marketplace that creates good jobs and lifts up American families. The United States and our trading partners stand to gain when trade is open, transparent, rules-based, and fair, showing respect for labor and environmental standards. The United States is well-positioned to reap the benefits of trade. America is a leader in the global marketplace and ranks at the top of almost every measure of global competitiveness.” World Trade Week is May 17-23. (Presidential Proclamation) (Secretary Locke Remarks)

Over 7,000 Attend Two-Day National Trademark Expo

(Posing left to right): Dennis the Menace, Congressman Jim Moran, Debbie Cohn, John Doll and Curious George officially open the 2009 National Trademark Expo. Click for larger image.

It began on Friday morning with a parade of 25 trademark characters, music from the Air Force Band’s Ceremonial Quintet, speeches and a ribbon cutting. It ended on Saturday when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s normally quiet weekend campus sprang to life with thousands of kids and their parents flocking to the National Trademark Expo. Attendees enjoyed and interacted with such iconic trademark costume characters as Popeye, Olive Oyl, Dennis the Menace, Betty Boop, Curious George and Sprout. Expo visitors also learned more about the vital role trademarks play in the global economy at 15 exhibit booths and by attending educational workshops. (More) (Photo Gallery)

Secretary Locke to Meet with Supply Chain Industry Leaders, Keynote Conference

International Trade Administration logo.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will deliver keynote remarks at the Game Changers in the Supply Chain Infrastructure: Are We Ready to Play? Conference on Monday, May 11. The conference, jointly hosted by the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Transportation, is the first meeting between supply chain industry leaders and key Administration officials to discuss how America’s freight infrastructure must be improved to boost the competitiveness of U.S. firms in the global economy. A live webcast of the keynote address will be available beginning Monday, at 9:00 a.m. EDT. (Webcast) (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Meets with Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry

Minister of Trade and Secretary of Commerce with other attendees of meeting. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted a meeting with Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) Toshihiro Nikai, the first meeting between Minister Nikai and Secretary Locke. In their meeting, Locke and Nikai recognized the progress made by the Commerce Department and METI under the Joint Initiative for Enhanced U.S.-Japan Cooperation on Intellectual Property Rights and other global issues and expressed support for continuing to deepen cooperation on trade and investment issues. “It is important for the United States and Japan, as the two largest economies in the world, to show strong leadership during these challenging economic times,” Locke said. (More)

Safer Net Surfing is Goal of NIST Domain Name Security Experts

Image of user log-on screen.

When you type www.irs.gov—or the Web address of your bank or an e-commerce site—into your web browser, you want to be sure that no one is hijacking your request and sending you to a bogus look-alike page. You’re relying on the integrity of the Internet’s “phone book,” the Domain Name System (DNS). Computer scientists at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are playing a major role in making sure that what you type is what you get by providing standards, guidance and testing necessary to bolster the trustworthiness of the global DNS. A draft update of NIST’s guidelines for DNS security is now available for public comment. (More)

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to Hold Annual Trademark Expo

Trademark Expo visual.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office will hold its annual Trademark Expo May 8-9 at the agency’s headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. The 2008 Expo attracted 7,000 people and received wide media coverage. This year’s two day event will focus again on educating the public about the value and important role trademarks play in our society and the global marketplace. It will feature themed displays, company booths, costumed characters interactive exhibits and trademark related seminars for attendees. (More)