Sunday, January 18, 2009

Obama, Global Warming, and the White House Science Adviser 

Many of our readers know that I'm quite skeptical of the "global warming" aka "climate change" aka "latest label for Mother Nature's ebbs and flows" mantra. Anytime someone says (as is said in this referenced article), "It's over, there is no more debate" well, I question it. The more we learn the more a wise person will conclude that there is no end to learning and that new knowledge may be more accurate than past knowledge.

President-elect Obama appears to be a strong member of the doom and gloom, "world is going to collapse because of CO2 emissions (you know, the gas humans expel when exhaling)" crowd. To that end, he has nominated John Holdren as director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Professor Holdren has wonderful, academic credentials. He's a physicist, a professor of environmental policy at Harvard, a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in addition to authoring a number of articles.

But "he is also a doom-and-gloomer with a trail of erroneous apocalyptic forecasts dating back nearly 40 years -- and a decided lack of tolerance for environmental opinions that conflict with his." His habit of predicting disasters that never occurred is disconcerting at best. How many good scientists are so narrow as to dis opinions differing from theirs? Arrogance, thy name is Holdren.

Professor Holdren has a history of missteps (putting it politely) when it comes to his expertise regarding the environment. This article by Boston Globe columnist, Jeff Jacoby, lists eight major issues that should raise questions about Holdren's qualifications for the job, including Holdren's belief:
- That oceans would rise by 13 FEET when the UN Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change said 13 INCHES
- The US only should incorporate "zero population growth"
- His claim that greenhouse gases will wreck the planet
Couple these beliefs with Holdren's association with Paul Ehrlich, the scientist who lost the bet with Bjorn Lomborg regarding mineral scarcity and one wonders if Obama really is open to other ideas.

Do we really want someone in charge of science who is a defeatist? Someone who thinks crawling in a hole and disappearing is good? Or do we want people who have a "can do" attitude, one that will lift us up and provide options for improving the lot of man with a minimum of government interference? I think the latter.

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