The Intersection

My recent Harper’s piece, on how to fix the mess Bush made of science policy, is now readable for free here.

And the cool website just interviewed me about Storm World and Speaking Science 2.0. You can read the inteview here.

Coming tomorrow: More great pictures from Sheril’s Africa trip. Meanwhile, I am off to Maine early tomorrow morning to speak at this conference in Orono on Friday. After Sheril’s pictures go up, blogging may be light til I return, or until Sheril gets back to somewhere with a computer hookup….


  1. #1 Dark Tent
    June 28, 2007

    “The first step is to choose a distinguished scientist to serve as the presidential science adviser–the government’s top scientist, who heads the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)–and, more important, to make sure this scientist is allowed into the president’s inner circle. Bush made major policy decisions on both global warming and embryonic stem cell research before his presidential science adviser, physicist John Marburger, had even been confirmed by the Senate, and once Marburger was in place, the OSTP was essentially marginalized”

    Perhaps it was not your intention, but that seems to let Marburger off the hook.

    Bush is very good at the game in which his aids say one thing (in this case Marburger saying “global warming is a real problem that we need to address”) and he does the exact opposite.

    Time and again, the words of his aids have provided Bush with cover. Marburger is certainly smart enough to have recognized this.

    Marburger may not have had Bush’s ear (not been a part of Bush’s “inner circle”), but if Marburger had been vocal enough, Bush would certainly have heard him loud and clear, as would the American public.

    The head of OSTP is not just an “adviser to the President” on scientific matters. He is also a liaison between the scientific community and the President and between the scientific community and the Congress.

    Among other things, it is his job to ensure that scientists have Congress’ ear on important scientific matters — and certainly to let Congress know when scientists are being censored and when non-scientists (indeed non-qualified people) are being appointed to fill positions traditionally held by scientists.

    If Marburger has been diligent in fulfilling the latter requirement, I have not seen the evidence.

    Indeed, I see evidence to the contrary. Just look at the way he “handled” (basically dismissed) the findings of the Union Of Concerned Scientists regarding political interference within various scientific agencies. That basically says it all, as far as I am concerned.

  2. #2 Dark Tent
    June 28, 2007

    When Rep. Waxman recently held a Hearing on Political Influence on Government Climate Change Scientists, did Marburger testify (or even send a representative from his office to do so)? I don’t see his name on the witness list — or that of any such respresentative.

    Apparently, Marburger did not think there was any issue, even though government climate scientists like James Hansen and Rick Piltz have indicated otherwise.

    Channel 2 News World Report
    KHON-TV CH 2 (FOX)
    Honolulu (June 15, 2006) DMA: 72
    05:30 PM – 06:00 PM
    “Senator Leiberman is asking the president’s top science advisor to look into whether the administration is muzzling it’s top climate researchers. Leiberman says there probably has been suppression of scientific evidence that shows the effects and reality of global warming for reasons that aren’t scientific, that unfortunately may have more to do with policy. Just last week was another charge, leveled by a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, that there are problems with policies regarding the disclosure of scientific information not only at NASA, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Forest Service. Other scientists have also alleged suppression at the Environmental Protection Agency. Leiberman; “You’ve now got four different agencies, NASA, NOAA, EPA and the U.S. Forest Service, where there are very credible reports that scientists have had their work on global warming suppressed.” The president’s top science advisor, John Marburger, said that he feels there is no need for an investigation.”

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