Saturday, December 20, 2008

Change You Can Believe In If You're a Complete Idiot: Obama Names Discredited Globwarm Crackpot as 'Science Adviser'

Hope, change and zero credibility

Get ready for at least four more years of global warming hysteria to be shoved down your throat. Oh, and watch your wallet while you're at since you're going to pay through the nose for the crackpot schemes this guy will force upon us.
President-elect Barack Obama on Saturday named a Harvard physicist and a marine biologist to science posts, signaling a change from Bush administration policies on global warming that were criticized for putting politics over science.

Both John Holdren and Jane Lubchenco are leading experts on climate change who have advocated forceful government response. Holdren will become Obama's science adviser as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Lubchenco will lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees ocean and atmospheric studies and does much of the government's research on global warming.

Holdren also will direct the president's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology. Joining him as co-chairs will be Nobel Prize-winning scientist Harold Varmus, a former director of the National Institutes of Health, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Eric Lander, a specialist in human genome research.
Never heard of Holdren before? Well, sit down and read up. It isn't pretty.
Although touted as a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, Holdren was admitted through a back door called the “temporary nominating group”, a process which appears designed and has certainly been exercised to gain entry for large numbers of environmental alarmists who, it is fair to presume from this exception, would not gain election through the normal channel.

Also typically styled as a professor at Harvard, Holdren is primarily employed by the Woods Hole Research Center (an environmental advocacy group, not to be confused with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution which is a research organization — both discussed [later in the book]). Despite his outside affiliations and activism he typically instead carries the Harvard tag, lending the institution’s academic prestige to his environmentalist advocacy, thereby embodying a growing tactic of environmentalists using credentials from an academic perch where they may not be all that active to push an activist agenda through other, pressure group perches where they are in fact quite busy.

The vocal Holdren predicted in the mid-1980s that climate-related catastrophes might kill as many as one billion people before the year 2020 but now brushes off inquiries about such failed catastrophism while continuing to sound a similar alarm. He is a longtime collaborator with none other than failed prognosticator of doom Paul Ehrlich, with whom he collaborated to hold a “Cassandra Conference” in 1988 (Cassandra is the lass from Greek mythology whose prophecies were always true and always ignored).

As I note in Red Hot Lies, Holdren’s name also pops up in various, largely successful efforts to elevate taxpayer funding of the global warming industry. Finally, note that Holdren’s recent record includes being enlisted by Scientific American in its clumsy effort to smear and otherwise discredit Bjørn Lomborg.

With a Holdren nomination, the President-Elect will have made his intentions unmistakably clear. This will unleash a policy battle royale and, fortunately, likely the ultimate defeat of the alarmist agenda.
Real credible guy.
Does being spectacularly wrong about a major issue in your field of expertise hurt your chances of becoming the presidential science advisor? Apparently not, judging by reports from DotEarth and ScienceInsider that Barack Obama will name John P. Holdren as his science advisor on Saturday.

Dr. Holdren, now a physicist at Harvard, was one of the experts in natural resources whom Paul Ehrlich enlisted in his famous bet against the economist Julian Simon during the “energy crisis” of the 1980s. Dr. Simon, who disagreed with environmentalists’ predictions of a new “age of scarcity” of natural resources, offered to bet that any natural resource would be cheaper at any date in the future. Dr. Ehrlich accepted the challenge and asked Dr. Holdren, then the co-director of the graduate program in energy and resources at the University of California, Berkeley, and another Berkeley professor, John Harte, for help in choosing which resources would become scarce.

In 1980 Dr. Holdren helped select five metals — chrome, copper, nickel, tin and tungsten — and joined Dr. Ehrlich and Dr. Harte in betting $1,000 that those metals would be more expensive ten years later. They turned out to be wrong on all five metals, and had to pay up when the bet came due in 1990.

Now, you could argue that anyone’s entitled to a mistake, and that mistakes can be valuable if people learn to become open to ideas that conflict with their preconceptions and ideology. That could be a useful skill in an advisor who’s supposed to be presenting the president with a wide range of views. Someone who’d seen how wrong environmentalists had been in ridiculing Dr. Simon’s predictions could, in theory, become more open to dissenting from today’s environmentalist orthodoxy. But I haven’t seen much evidence of such open-mindedness in Dr. Holdren.
Believe it or not, it gets worse.

Obama claims he wants to put science at the top of his agenda. Then why appoint a guy with no credibility? Try not to laugh.
“It’s about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it’s inconvenient – especially when it’s inconvenient,” Obama said. “Because the highest purpose of science is the search for knowledge, truth and a greater understanding of the world around us. That will be my goal as President of the United States – and I could not have a better team to guide me in this work.”

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