US president-elect Barack Obama on Saturday signaled climate change and genetic research will be among his top priorities when he takes office as he named four key members of his administration.
“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,” said Obama in a weekly radio address.
Leading his list of nominees is John Holdren, who would become director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and co-chairman of the president’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
The professor of environmental policy at Harvard University led the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, an international organization of prominent scientists that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995.
Holdren is no stranger to Washington, having served as President Bill Clinton’s science and technology adviser in the 1990s.
Obama called Holdren “one of the most passionate and persistent voices of our time about the growing threat of climate change”. …
Obama expressed the confidence that together the two men will “remake” the group “into a vigorous external advisory council” that will shape his thinking on scientific aspects of his policies. …
The president-elect made no direct reference to a controversial 2001 decision by President George W. Bush to limit federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, despite pleas by many scientists who believe it could offer promise in fighting degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
The decision had been made under pressure from religious conservative groups that argued such research could violate the sanctity of human life. …
“It’s about ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology,” the future president noted. “It’s about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it’s inconvenient — especially when it’s inconvenient.”
Its about time the country was lead by realists.