[ExI] This news is very encouraging
thespike at satx.rr.com
Sat Dec 20 18:27:06 UTC 2008
...after the Bush blight:
Obama names 4 top members of science team
By HOPE YEN 1 hour ago
WASHINGTON (AP) President-elect Barack Obama's
selection Saturday of a Harvard physicist and a
marine biologist for science posts is a sign he
plans a more aggressive response to global
warming than did the Bush administration.
John Holdren and Jane Lubchenco are leading
experts on climate change who have advocated
forceful government action. Holdren will become
Obama's science adviser as director of the White
House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Lubchenco will lead the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration, which oversees ocean
and atmospheric studies and does much of the
government's research on global warming.
Holdren also will direct the president's Council
of Advisers on Science and Technology. Joining
him as co-chairs will be Nobel Prize-winning
scientist Harold Varmus, a former director of the
National Institutes of Health, and Massachusetts
Institute of Technology professor Eric Lander, a
specialist in human genome research.
"It's time we once again put science at the top
of our agenda and worked to restore America's
place as the world leader in science and
technology," Obama said in announcing the
selections in his weekly radio address.
The president-elect said promoting science means
more than just providing money, but also is about
ensuring that facts and evidence are never
twisted or obscured by politics or ideology.
"From landing on the moon, to sequencing the
human genome, to inventing the Internet, America
has been the first to cross that new frontier
because we had leaders who paved the way," Obama
said. "Leaders who not only invested in our
scientists, but who respected the integrity of the scientific process."
The four scientists will confront challenges in
global warming after years of inaction by the
Bush administration, which opposed mandatory cuts
of greenhouse gas pollution. Last year, former
Surgeon General Richard Carmona testified to
Congress that top administration officials often
dismissed global warming as a "liberal cause" and
sought to play down public health reports out of political considerations.
Since 1993, summer Arctic sea ice has lost the
equivalent of Alaska, California and Texas, and
global warming is accelerating. The amount of
carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere has already
pushed past the level some scientists say is safe.
Holdren, 64, is a former president of the
American Association for the Advancement of
Science in Washington who has pushed for more
urgent action on global warming. As Obama's top
science adviser, he would manage about 40
Ph.D-level experts who help shape and communicate
science and technology policy.
"Global warming is a misnomer. It implies
something gradual, something uniform, something
quite possibly benign, and what we're
experiencing is none of those," Holdren said a
year ago in a speech at Harvard. "There is
already widespread harm ... occurring from
climate change. This is not just a problem for
our children and our grandchildren."
Lubchenco, an Oregon State University professor
specializing in overfishing and climate change,
will be the first woman to head NOAA. A member of
the Pew Oceans Commission, Lubchenco has
recommended steps to overcome crippling damage to
the world's oceans from overfishing and pollution
and has expressed optimism for change once
President George W. Bush leaves office.
"The Bush administration has not been respectful
of the science," she said this year. "But I think
that's not true of Republicans in general. I know
it's not. I am very much looking forward to a new
administration that does respect scientific
information and that considers it very seriously
in making environmental policies."
Varmus, who was a co-recipient of the Nobel Prize
for his research on the causes of cancer, served
as NIH director during the Clinton
administration. A former medical professor at the
University of California, San Francisco, he
helped found the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer
Care and Prevention and chairs a scientific board
at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Lander, who teaches at both MIT and Harvard,
founded the Whitehead Institute-MIT Center for
Genome Research in 1990, which became part of the
Broad Institute in 2003. A leading researcher in
the Human Genome Project, he and his colleagues
are using the findings to explore the molecular
mechanisms behind human disease.
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