Obama declares end to Dark Ages: Its time we once again put science at the top of our agenda”

In a landmark radio address today, President-elect Barack Obama announced his powerful science team and the end to Bush’s war on science, saying:

Today, more than ever before, science holds the key to our survival as a planet and our security and prosperity as a nation. It’s time we once again put science at the top of our agenda and worked to restore America’s place as the world leader in science and technology.

Obama again signaled his belief in strong action on global warming — in case that wasn’t incredibly obvious already based on his science picks (see “Obama’s strongest message on climate yet: John Holdren to be named Science Adviser” and “For NOAA head, Obama appoints yet another scientist who gets climate“) or his key technology pick (see “A Nobelist for Energy Secretary who gets both climate and energy efficiency?“) — by unexpectedly repeating a key word in his address:

It’s about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it’s inconvenient — especially when it’s inconvenient. 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.

Dangerous human-caused global warming may be an inconvenient truth, but it is a scientific truth nonetheless. Politico notes:

Taking a veiled jab at Bush, Obama said the scientific process is about evidence and facts that “are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology.”

Obama also announced the co-chairs of his Council of Advisors on Science and Technology: Nobel Prize winner Harold Varmus and genomics expert Eric Lander.

Kudos to Obama for offering hope to Americans after eight years of denial and disinformation.


12 Responses to Obama declares end to Dark Ages: Its time we once again put science at the top of our agenda”

  1. Howard says:

    Watch John Holdren at The American Respnse to Climate Change Conference talk about climate and science. If this is the shape of things to come than we are in better shape.

    This was from a closed-door gathering of climate leaders held at The Wild Center in the Adirondacks to develop climate policy recommendations.

  2. Dennis says:

    I hope these individuals will come down harshly on the likes of Inhofe and the others who continue to obfuscate, distort, and outright lie about science. Getting back to having science reported correctly is more than just telling the truth: it’s pointing out the lies.

  3. DavidONE says:

    We need to clone that man and give one to each industrialised country. In fact, a clone of Dolly the sheep might be more effective at addressing ACC than Gordon Brown. [sigh]

  4. Kathy N. says:

    If the US showes it can do this in these troubled times, others will follow. And it seems that they want us to be doing some leading after the last eight years of fear, hate and war. I just hope we can do it before its over the top to late. Little to no snow in Russia, the Alps with little to no snow fall so far this year, these are very troubling signs. It seems the shifts in the Jet Streams and the snow fall that doesn’t stay are getting worse by the year. I wonder how soon we will have another even worse year like 2005.

  5. Michele Moretti says:

    After watching President-elect Obama’s recent speech, I am heartened that the United States may once again provide the leadership and aspiration that this country, and the entire world needs to meet the challenges of the 21st century. It seems as though a great veil of darkness has begun to lift, and hope looms large on the horizon.

  6. Bob Wallace says:

    Obama is going to need our help.

    It will be easier for his team to make changes if people understand the problems and the possible solutions.

    Anything we can do to educate others will be valuable.

  7. joyce says:

    What a great link. We are piloting a community education program to train volunteers about climate change and community responses & actions which will include modules to be done at home. Holdren’s talk will be a perfect “climate change 101” introduction–followed by group discussions with experts. Joe Romm’s site has been a terrific resource, as he so clearly addresses issues with many supportive links, but the comments are often rich with further data and information.
    Now, I just need to get Holdren’s permission to burn in a DVD… It will be marvelous to be able to include a slide program from our nation’s chief science advisor. (Holdren was the former boss of the climate expert who will be addressing the group–so I doubt I will have a problem getting approval to include)
    thanks again.

  8. Yes, definitely yes, some of the darkest of dark days are passing into history……finally. The future is about to begin…….mercifully.

    An unnecessary and unjustifiable war at a cost of three trillion dollars; a crashing economy at a cost of trillions more; a degraded environment, a dissipated Earth…….priceless.

    And people responsible for these nightmares want their 2008 bonuses……predictable.

  9. David Lewis says:

    Go Obama!

    I do wonder why he chooses the exact words he does though. For instance, a few days Obama said this: “We will make decisions based on facts, and we understand that the facts demand bold action”.

    When he commented on his appointment of Chu, Obama said, this “should send a signal to all that my administration will value science”. Again, in this video posted here today, Obama says his administration is going to “listen to what scientists have to say”.

    Its getting near Christmas, Obama hasn’t even started his honeymoon period in office yet, and what he’s saying is so much more wonderful to hear than anything emanating from the US on climate in history, that I’m still almost ecstatic.

    But, what is the “science” he’s going to value, and what “facts” will he base his decisions on?

    Things have to be spelled out in greater detail for meaning to emerge. Is Obama going try to get support in the US to sign on to an international agreement aimed at 2 degrees C, or say 450 ppm as Chu has said in the past he wants to make sure Copenhagen commits the world to? Chu has been drawing a distinction between “dangerous” climate change and some other kind which would presumably be happening if CO2 levels stay low enough, Holdren has been saying we’re already there. Will this rhetoric, which occurs everywhere climate is discussed, be clarified? Chu has stated he does not believe civilization will keep CO2 at a level less than 550 ppm – will that become national policy, i.e. aiming for that? Will he listen to that pesky scientist who says the science he understands means that civilization must achieve a level of 325 – 350 ppm at stabilization? Is Obama going to try to commit the US to aim at stabilization at all?

    This 80% reductions in US emissions by 2050 target Obama’s been campaigning on, depending on how you calculate it and if you extend the per capita US emissions it represents out to per capita rights to emit for the 9 or more billion people in the world who will be alive then, adds up any way I look at it to more than the total global emissions of today. His target as laid out during his campaign adds up to a continuous acceleration of the forces driving global warming from now until 2050, albeit at a less aggressive rate than business as usual.

    And there are the more philosophical questions, such as does carbon capture exist, or how many CCS plants can fit on the head of a pin? Obama campaigned saying he was going to get 5 full scale CCS coal fired electricity plants built. Campaigners have been hitting him with a lot of flack over that. Will his administration listen to the many scientists who have open minds or who are outright promoters of nuclear power? What about this brand new DC national electric grid?

    Its still wonderful to hear Obama talk about what he’s going to do, as in this video.

  10. YES WE CAN reduce our CO2 production by 40% in 8 years!:
    Nuclear reactors can be FACTORY made fast. Nuclear power will LOWER the price of electricity by 30%. Standardized, assembly line manufacture of nuclear reactors to replace coal burners will lower the price of electricity even more.

    YES WE CAN replace every coal burner on earth with a nuclear reactor in 8 years, AND WE CAN MAKE A PROFIT ON THEM. We can provide electricity to the Chinese peasants for AT LEAST 30% LESS than what they would pay for electricity from coal. Want a high paying green job? Work at the nuclear reactor factory that we have to build, or at a Canadian nuclear reactor factory.

    Of course, a much nicer scenario should have happened: Americans should have replaced all coal fired power plants with nuclear reactors long ago. That would require that Americans had been educated properly. ALL high school students should have taken 4 years of physics, 4 years of chemistry, 4 years of biology and 8 years of math, starting in 1930. If that had happened, the coal industry would have had no hope of driving Americans paranoid of all things nuclear.

    I have no connection with the nuclear power industry. I have never had any connection with the nuclear power industry. I am not being paid by anyone to post on Alternet. My sole motive is to avoid death in the collapse of civilization and to avoid the extinction of humans due to global warming.

  11. George W. Bush’s war on science was a religious war. The income of preachers goes down every time people become more educated in science. If every adult American had at least a bachelor’s degree in science from a decent university, there would be zero jobs for preachers, priests, rabbis, iatolas and imams in the US. That won’t happen because most people just don’t have the IQ required. A good science education requirement for a high school diploma could certainly change things a lot. As it is now, most high school students never set foot inside a chemistry or physics laboratory classroom. That needs to change for the sake of the economy and for the survival of civilization. Religionists [preachers, priests, rabbis, iatolas and imams] have prevented the teaching of science for many years in the US. It is different in other First World countries, where religion is believed by a small and diminishing minority of the ignorant, gullible and stupid.