Unleashing the Geeks


There is good climate change and bad climate change. One of the very best types is the radical warming of the atmosphere for scientific inquiry we’re already feeling from the incoming Obama Administration.

Past posts and
watchdog reports have detailed the suffocation of science in the Bush Administration – the censorship of findings, delays in producing required reports, reduced funding for earth sciences. President Bush is not known as the inquisitive type. As I have reported in the past, some members of the federal government’s science corps believe the president stifled climate science because he doesn’t want to know the answers. He most likely doesn’t want the rest of us to know them, either.

What a difference an election can make. President-elect Obama, often the smartest guy in the room, obviously is open to new knowledge, information and ideas. He’s named Nobel Laureate physicist Stephen Chu, director of Lawrence Livermore Berkeley National Laboratory to Energy; physicist and energy/environment expert John Holdren of Harvard as his science advisor; Marine biologist Jane Lubchenco of Oregon State University to NOAA; Nobel Laureate Harold Varmus, former director of the national Institutes of Health, and Eric Lander of MIT as co-chairmen of the president’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

As Alan Leshner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science notes in the
Economist, “we’ve never had a president surrounded in close proximity with so many well-known, top scientific minds.”

Another signal that it’s springtime for science is the
economic stimulus plan the Obama team is circulating in Congress and in cyberspace. According to the plan:
Obama and Biden support doubling federal funding for basic research and changing the posture of our federal government from being one of the most anti-science administrations in American history to one that embraces science and technology.
Here are some additional suggestions – some of them offered in previous posts but worth repeating as the Administration prepares to take office. Continued...