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Obama’s key science appointments

US President-elect Barack Obama has selected two key advocates for action on climate change to serve in his administration.

The appointments of physicist John Holdren of Harvard University as White House science advisor and marine biologist Jane Lubchenco of Oregon State University as the first female head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are expected to be announced tomorrow, according to Juliet Eilperin and Joel Achenbach of the Washington Post.

Following from the appointment last week of Steven Chu of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as Energy Secretary, the selections bring high hopes for strong national action on curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

Over on Dot Earth, Andy Revkin has the lowdown on the appointees, both of whom have received MacArthur Foundation “genius” grants.

Lubchenco has been a leading voice on marine conservation issues in recent decades. Holdren has been consistent in calling for tough action on climate change but has had a bugbear with the term itself, which he believes is a misnomer. Instead he would rather ‘global climate disruption’; I wonder if we’ll hear more of that in the future?

Olive Heffernan


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