PEBO has picked Jane Lubchenco, a prominent marine biologist at Oregon State University, to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She served as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science between 1997-98. A video of her talk on “Climate Change and its Implications for Oregon” can be found here.
In “Obama preparing to appoint three more climate change activists,” Climate Wire (subs. req’d) notes: “The early nomination could be a sign that NOAA will take on a prominent role in federal efforts to combat climate change, experts said.” She is yet more evidence of Obama’s seriousness to take science seriously and to act aggressively on climate change (see “Obama’s strongest message on climate yet: John Holdren to be named Science Adviser“).
Now if we could only get the media to understand that people like Holdren and Lubchenco are not “climate change activists” — they are world-class climate scientists who feel the urgent need for action because, as Holdren says, “civilization has already generated dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system. What keeps me going is my belief that there is still a chance of avoiding catastrophe.”
Given that we have just gone through eight years of disinformation from the White House and muzzling of climate scientists at federal agencies including NOAA, perhaps the best news is that Lubchenco has “longstanding interest in communicating complex scientific issues to the public and lawmakers”:
Lubchenco has helped found several organizations designed to bridge the gap between scientists and public policy — including Climate Central, a climate change think tank launched earlier this year. “We want to teach scientists to speak English when they talk about climate change,” she told ClimateWire in April, describing Climate Central’s mission. “We want to break it down for non-scientists.”
“Jane Lubchenco is a world-class marine scientist who has an international reputation for her integrity, her wisdom, her good judgment and her evenhanded, levelheaded approach to complex policy issues,” said Sylvia Earle, who served as NOAA chief scientist in the administration of President George H.W. Bush. “Her nomination is amazingly good news.”
Mike Hirshfield, senior vice president of Oceana, called Lubchenco someone “who would put oceans first.”
“We can’t think of anybody who fits that description better than Jane Lubchenco,” he said. “One of the challenges with any environmental issue is to find esteemed scientists who are willing to engage in public policy and spend time and energy communicating to policymakers. She’s one of the best at that.”
ClimateScienceWatch has more of her bio here.