The Intersection

Happy New Year, John Holdren

My last Science Progress column of the year answers the critics of John Holdren, who strike me as being pretty off base. In particular, I explain that Holdren is not some ideologue who wants to use climate policies to wreck the economy; that an ancient bet he and Paul Ehrlich made against Julian Simon (and lost) isn’t some big disqualifier; that the term “denier,” which Holdren has used, is no big deal, and in fact, is a time-honored part of the English language; and that despite what some say, Holdren obviously knows the difference between science and policy.

Anyways, you can read the full post here. And with that I’d like to say: Happy New Years, Intersection readers–and here’s to a magnificent 2009! And don’t forget to go here to answer our last post with your hopes for the future and the new administration…

Comments

  1. #1 Ashutosh
    December 31, 2008

    Incidentally John Holdren has a glowing review of Oliver Morton’s recently published “Eating the Sun”. Morton is the chief Features editor for Nature
    The synopsis is quite interesting:

    “In the first part, Morton, chief news and features editor of the leading science journal, Nature, traces scientists’ quest to understand how photosynthesis works at the molecular level. In part two, Morton addresses evidence of how plants may have kick-started the complex life cycle on Earth. The book’s final part considers photosynthesis in relation to global warming, for, he says, the Earth’s plant-based balance of carbon dioxide and oxygen is broken: in burning vast amounts of fossil fuels, we are emitting more carbon dioxide than the plants can absorb. But Morton also explores the possibility that our understanding of photosynthesis might be harnessed to regain that balance.”

  2. #2 Ashutosh
    December 31, 2008

    Happy New Year to you too, and I look forward to reading and reviewing your new book!

  3. #3 Steven Earl Salmony
    December 31, 2008

    Three cheers for John Holdren, Ph.D., and for other scientists who will not be silenced by opportunities of great wealth, power, privileges and status that are sure to be derived from saying loudly and clearly only what is politically convenient and economically expedient.

    Why not lay blame for the current economic catastrophe and the looming environmental calamity where it belongs: at the feet of the economic powerbrokers who organize and manage a colossal pyramid scheme, a modern representation of the ancient Tower of Babel? Is the pernicious denial of Dr. Holdren’s science, anthropogenic global warming and the human-driven destabilization of Earth’s climate not primarily for the purpose of preserving the selfish material interests of a few wealthy and powerful people, and their minions?

    Let’s look a bit more closely at the scandulous ‘business’ of Bernie Madoff, confidence games, Ponzi schemes and other financial vehicles for funneling, accumulating and concentrating billions of dollars in unearned wealth into the hands of a tiny minority of people who comprise the top of the global economy.

    There are many minions of the wealthy and their bought-and-paid-for politicians who “spread the word” of these schemes. Con men operate pyramid schemes. They assure “plausible deniability” and “legal cover” for all that is said and done.

    Only a telling of the truth about what they are doing is forbidden. That is the one and only thing that is verboten. Do not break their vow of silence by telling what is true about the perpetration of the schemes {ie, the only games in town, so they say}, because the “houses of cards” out of which a modern Tower of Babel is constructed immediately is exposed as fraudulent and patently unsustainable. These pyramidal constructions can withstand any force except that which is presented by speaking out loudly and clearly about what is happening in these enterprises. As soon as light of what is true was shed on Bernie’s scheme, the house of cards he had constructed fell.

    Bernard Madoff may be the first of my “Not So GREAT GREED GRAB Generation’s” kingpins to find that his “house of cards” has collapsed; but I dare say, Bernie will not be the last. There are other kingpins and many too many minions ready, willing and able to play along in what looks like the greatest self-enrichment scam in human history.

    Why not say that greed is not good and mean it? Why not assign value to personal honesty, accountability and transparency?

    Steven Earl Salmony
    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
    established 2001
    http://sustainabilityscience.org/content.html?contentid=1176

  4. #4 Dark Tent
    December 31, 2008

    This seems quite inappropriate and more than a little weird:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/12/31/dont-fire-my-husband-nasa_n_154575.html
    “Don’t Fire My Husband, NASA Chief’s wife begs Obama”, by Seth Borenstein

    “WASHINGTON — Late on Christmas Eve, one last wish was sent, by e-mail: Please let NASA Administrator Michael Griffin keep his job. It was from his wife.

    Rebecca Griffin, who works in marketing, sent her message with the subject line “Campaign for Mike” to friends and family. It asked them to sign an online petition to President-elect Barack Obama “to consider keeping Mike Griffin on as NASA Administrator.”

    A cash-strapped NASA last week also sent _ by priority mail costing $6.75 a package _ copies of a new NASA book called “Leadership in Space: Selected Speeches of NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, May 2005-October 2008.”

  5. #5 Steven Earl Salmony
    January 1, 2009

    Resolution for 2009: SPEAK OUT loudly, clearly and often

    Dear Friends,

    In calling for change in our time, great scientists are speaking about what could somehow be true to wealthy and powerful people who prefer that the “business as usual” status quo be maintained. Industrial/big business powerbrokers and their bought-and-paid-for politicians want to keep things going along just as they are going now, come what may for the children and coming generations, for life as we know it, for the integrity of Earth and its environs.

    Many voices are needed to support “voices in the wilderness” like those of Jim Hansen and John Holdren, exemplary scientists who have been willing to speak truth to those with the power to make the kinds of necessary change that make belief in a good enough future at least a possibility. Assuring a chance of a good future for the children and for life as we know it is an achievable goal that will lead us to overcome the arrogance and avarice of many too many leaders of my “Not So GREAT GREED GRAB Generation” of elders.

    If too many leaders of the family of humanity choose to keep doing precisely the things they are advocating and doing now, and if we in the human community keep getting what we are getting now, then it appears a sustainable world for our children cannot be achieved. By so doing, the limited resources of Earth will be permanently dissipated, its biodiversity massively extirpated, its environment irreversibly degraded and life as we know it recklessly endangered. The current gigantic scale and anticipated growth of per-capita overconsumption of limited resources, global production and distribution capabilities, and absolute human population numbers worldwide are simply, clearly and patently unsustainable, even to the year 2050. Given Earth’s limitations as a relatively small, evidently finite and noticeably frangible planet, the projected increases in these currently unbridled consumption, production and propagation activities of the human species could soon lead the human family to come face to face with some sort of colossal ecological wreckage.

    Now is the time to speak out loudly, clearly and often about what is true for you. Forget about political correctness and convenience. Let go of economic expediency and greediness. Embrace necessary change rather than waste another day preserving the selfish interests of the small group of rich and powerful people, and their many minions, all of whom are adamantly and relentlessly defending an unsustainable, same old “business as usual” status quo.

    Steven Earl Salmony
    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
    established 2001
    http://sustainabilityscience.org/content.html?contentid=1176

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