If you need any more evidence that President-elect Obama is serious about dealing with climate change, take a look at his latest appointments. During his radio address tomorrow, the president-elect is expected to name Dr. Jane Lubchenco to head the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Agency (NOAA) and Dr. John Holdren to serve as the president’s science adviser.
Lubchenco (check out her resume), a professor at Oregon State University, is one of the most distinguished ocean scientists in the country. She has directed pioneering research on the effects of global warming on the health of the world’s oceans. She also understands science policy and the potential for government research to serve the public good. NOAA, which encompasses the National Weather Service and sits within the Department of Commerce, oversees a $4 billion budget for climate, fisheries, and ocean protection issues.
Professor Holdren (see profile) is a physicist from Harvard by way of UC Berkeley. He knows the ins and outs of energy and environmental policy like few others in academia. Read his pre-election article in Scientific American on The U.S.’s Last Chance to Lead. If Obama draws upon Holdren’s expertise, the president may start talking knowledgeably about climate models.
Both Lubchenco and Holdren can call on a generation of former students, now experienced environmental professionals, to do the all-important staff work that often drives the agenda of federal agencies. The new science appointees will join an all-star cast of Steven Chu at Energy, Carol Browner as Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, Lisa Jackson at EPA, and Nancy Sutley at CEQ. When this brain trust meets at the White House, the President and the nation will be well served.
**Update:** Here’s the official announcement, and a video address from the man himself that includes footage of the appointees: