Obama picks his science team

Yesterday, Obama appointed John Holden as his Chief Science Advisor and Jane Lubchenco to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which carries out most of the government research on climate change. Both have advocated greater government action on climate change.

“This is a superb appointment,” Sir David King, former UK chief scientific advisor, told the Observer. “Holdren is a top-rate scientist and his position on climate change is as clear as you could get. This is a signal from Barack Obama that he means business when it comes to dealing with global warming.”

Holdren has described the Bush Administration’s current approach to climate policy as like “being in a car with bad brakes driving towards a cliff in the fog.” (hat tip to Treehugger)

Alongside Steven Chu and Carol Browner, Holdren’s announcement puts three big-hitters advising Obama on climate change policy, so it will be intersting to know who will have the most sway with the incoming president.  It is likely that it will not be Holdren, as he does not control a government agency nor administer a large budget.  Additionally, in his new position he can be called upon to testify before congress, which means that Obama will be less likely to share politically-sensitive information with him. (hat tip to New Scientist)

My ‘most influence vote’ would go to Browner, who headed up the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during the Clinton Administration.  She will have “forceful support” in Congress according to the New York Times, and being located in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue* can’t hurt her chances!

In subtle recognition Al Gore’s work, Obama said during his announcement, “It’s about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it’s inconvenient — especially when it’s inconvenient.”

* that’s the White House for those not in the know!

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