Sunday, December 21, 2008

Obama puts science and climate change at America's heart

"It's about ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted nor obscured by politics nor ideology."

With these words, Barack Obama has drawn a line under the faith-based, oil-industry-biased policies of his predecessor.

He has made the following highly significant appointments which are fantastic news for climate-change campaigners, and which mean the world can now begin to hope that America can lead the way to a speedy about-turn in fossil-fuel dependence, and make up for eight lost years of Bush Presidency:
  • respected climatologist Jane Lubchenco is to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Steven Chu, a Nobel prizewinner, is to be Secretary of the Department of Energy
  • Harvard physicist John Holdren has been made director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Steven Chu believes, rightly, that the best way to reduce greenhouse emissions is to waste less energy, by investing in energy efficiency.

He believes America can reduce its energy use without reducing its wealth, and has worked with the Helios Project, the research initiative Berkeley Lab launched for breakthrough renewable energy and efficiency technology - nanotech photovoltaics, microbial and cellulosic biofuels, and chemical photosynthesis. This despite the fact that his Nobel Prize was for his work in atomic physics.

In this video he explains his philosophy:

Holdren, an entrepreneur-supporting scientist who has worked with Paul Ehrlich and received the Nobel Peace Prize, knows about the new figures that show the rapid acceleration in the loss of Arctic sea ice, as well as dramatic acidification of the ocean.

Lubchenco (the first woman to hold the position of head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) has said that even if the world abruptly shifts away from fossil fuels, the oceans will continue to soak up carbon dioxide and become more acidic. She recommends protecting marine life by reducing overfishing, cutting back on nutrient run-off and creating marine reserves to protect marine eco-systems.

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