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Praise for Obama’s Science Choices January 3, 2009

Posted by Center for Inquiry Office of Public Policy in Uncategorized.
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The Office of Public Policy was delighted by President-Elect Obama’s choices for the highest level science positions in his administration. Here is the letter the Office of Public Policy, sent to the President-Elect.

Dear President-elect Obama:

The Center for Inquiry/Office of Public Policy, which was created to further the application of science and reasoned dialogue to science-based public policies, commends you on your excellent choices for high-level executive positions in science-based areas. Drs. Steven Chu, John P. Holdren, and Jane Lubchenco will form a powerful team to face the combined challenges of providing adequate energy for the nation and minimizing the clear threat of global warming to the world’s climate.

Dr. Steven Chu, a winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1997, is dedicated to your stated policy of addressing the global warming problem. Dr Chu’s current position as Director of the Berkeley Lawrence National Laboratory, where he supervised eleven other Nobel laureates, has led to an aggressive program to both improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gases. Dr. Chu is the ideal person to counter the questionable arguments of the carefully assembled group of global warming skeptics, a large number of whom are not climate scientists and many of whom exhibit little understanding of the problem.

In his efforts to provide the nation with a sensible program for providing relatively clean energy while reducing carbon dioxide emissions, Dr. Chu will be supported in the Obama administration by an excellent group of experienced professionals. You have selected Harvard physicist John Holdren for the position of presidential science advisor. As chairman of the Board of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, Holdren in 2007 oversaw the AAAS Board’s first statement on global warming, in which it is recommended that the nation “muster the political will for concerted action.” The science team includes marine biologist Jane Lubchenco to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Both Holdren and Lubchenco have encouraged scientists to play a more active role in science-related policy discussions. Lubchenco in particular founded the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program to teach scientists how to participate in public policy debates.

We would like to point out that addressing the combined energy-climate change issues will be further advanced by Representative Henry Waxman, designated to become the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. As current chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Waxman has already established his credentials as a strong supporter of action on global warming by taking to task the Bush administration appointees who tried to muzzle climate scientist James Hansen.

We look forward to active government under this administration, and stand ready to support the kind of strong science-based program we believe your chosen leadership will produce.

Sincerely,

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Praise for Obama’s Science choices December 31, 2008

Posted by Center for Inquiry Office of Public Policy in Annoucements, Commentary.
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The Center for Inquiry’s Office of Public Policy is devoted to science and reason as the basis of public policy. We were delighted by President-Elect Obama’s choice of a science team, both in his cabinet and the higher reaches of his administration.The Office of Public Policy sent this letter to the Obama transition team congratulating the president-elect on his choices.

Dear President-elect Obama:

The Center for Inquiry/Office of Public Policy, which was created to further the application of science and reasoned dialogue to science-based public policies, commends you on your excellent choices for high-level executive positions in science-based areas. Drs. Steven Chu, John P. Holdren, and Jane Lubchenco will form a powerful team to face the combined challenges of providing adequate energy for the nation and minimizing the clear threat of global warming to the world’s climate.

Dr. Steven Chu, a winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1997, is dedicated to your stated policy of addressing the global warming problem. Dr Chu’s current position as Director of the Berkeley Lawrence National Laboratory, where he supervised eleven other Nobel laureates, has led to an aggressive program to both improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gases. Dr. Chu is the ideal person to counter the questionable arguments of the carefully assembled group of global warming skeptics, a large number of whom are not climate scientists and many of whom exhibit little understanding of the problem.

In his efforts to provide the nation with a sensible program for providing relatively clean energy while reducing carbon dioxide emissions, Dr. Chu will be supported in the Obama administration by an excellent group of experienced professionals. You have selected Harvard physicist John Holdren for the position of presidential science advisor. As chairman of the Board of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, Holdren in 2007 oversaw the AAAS Board’s first statement on global warming, in which it is recommended that the nation “muster the political will for concerted action.” The science team includes marine biologist Jane Lubchenco to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Both Holdren and Lubchenco have encouraged scientists to play a more active role in science-related policy discussions. Lubchenco in particular founded the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program to teach scientists how to participate in public policy debates.

We would like to point out that addressing the combined energy-climate change issues will be further advanced by Representative Henry Waxman, designated to become the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. As current chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Waxman has already established his credentials as a strong supporter of action on global warming by taking to task the Bush administration appointees who tried to muzzle climate scientist James Hansen.

We look forward to active government under this administration, and stand ready to support the kind of strong science-based program we believe your chosen leadership will produce.

Sincerely

Obama’s answers to Science Debate 2008’s 14 questions September 12, 2008

Posted by Center for Inquiry Office of Public Policy in Annoucements, Commentary, Press Release.
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One candidate for the presidency, Democrat Senator Barack Obama, has answered Science Debate 2008’s question about science, technology, and health (see Science Debate 2008 below). We’ll summarize his answers here. When Republican Senator John McCain answers the questions, we’ll summarize them in this space too.
Without going into detail about the answers to all 14 questions (the complete answers can be found at http://www.sciencedebate2008.com/www/index.php?id=40), we’ll point to major themes that emerge from Obama’s answers.
He emphasizes the need for improved science education at all levels, kindergarten through college and into graduate school, and promises increased funding for basic research to maintain U.S. competitiveness. Research will be the foundation for innovations in energy conservation and replacement, as well as in defense technologies.
To address global climate change, Obama will implement a market-based cap-and-trade system, enforce targets for reduction in carbon emissions, and reconnect the U.S. with United Nations and international organizations to focus on energy and environmental issues worldwide.
He supports both genetic and stem cell research and the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA). He connects genetic and stem cell research to improving the quality of health care in the U.S. His health-care plan covers everybody by limiting the power of insurance companies and extending tax credits to small business.
Obama will restore scientific integrity and eliminate political interference in science by appointing a Chief Technology Officer and strengthening the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. He will issue an Executive Order establishing guidelines for the timely release of scientific findings undistorted by political considerations.
In general, Obama sees science as vital to facing the “grand challenges of the 21st century,” and proposes to fund education, research, and development in science and technology to the extent needed to find solutions.