Sunday, December 21, 2008

Obama's Science, Energy, EPA and Climate Team

President-elect Obama takes a bold stand for making decisions based on science and facts rather than ideology.

Barack Obama introduced leading members of his science and technology team. He appointed Dr. John Holdren as Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Dr. Holdren, a Harvard physicist, is a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is an expert on energy technology policy and nuclear nonproliferation, and a strong advocate of cutting CO2 emissions to slow gobal warming.

Obama also named Dr. Jane Lubchenco as his choice to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Dr. Lubchenco, a marine biologist at Oregon State University, is also a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She is in favor of cutting CO2 emissions in order to stabilize the climate and to protect sea life. Read more and see a video of Obama's address here.

Earlier, Obama selected Dr. Steven Chu, Nobel Prize-winning physicist and clean-energy advocate, to run the federal Department of Energy (DOE). Dr. Chu heads the DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, and his lab currently does research on new forms of low-carbon energy. As Energy Secretary, Dr. Chu will have to deal with coal supporters, as the DOE has granted millions of dollars to designing new power plants that capture carbon dioxide from coal.

Other nominees include Lisa Jackson, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator; Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality; Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change; and Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change. Read more here.

In addition to his post as the President's Science Advisor, Dr. Holdren was appointed Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). President-elect Obama also appointed Dr. Harold Varmus, Nobel Prize winner for cancer research, and Dr. Eric Lander, human genome mapper at MIT and Harvard, as the other co-chairs. PCAST is an external advisory council that Obama says will shape his thinking on the scientific aspects of policy priorities.

As a scientist, environmentalist, and clean energy advocate, all that I can say is: Pinch me, I must be dreaming!

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