If NY Times Columnist Tierney Thinks Holdren Is Bad Science Advisor Pick, He's Definitely the Right Choice

john holdren photo
I don't know if you saw the John Tierney's piece in the New York Times on Barack Obama's pick of John Holdren to be presidential science advisor, but its a doozy.

Structured around quotes from climate change deniers (or as Joe Romm calls them denier-equivalents) it tries to paint Holdren as a flawed choice. This quote by Romm from Climate Progress sums up the absurdity of this idea:

The first thing to say is that if Tierney, [Roger] Pielke, [Bjorn] Lomborg, and [the Competitive Enterprise Institute] all disagree with you on any point related to climate, energy, or science, you can sleep soundly knowing with 100% certainty you are right.

You could have left it at CEI for me. Remember these are the same people you produced the infamous ads which proclaimed "CO2: They Call It Pollution, We Call It Life". If the CEI isn't so fond of Holdren you know his head's in the right place.

Tierney: Scientists Should Stick to What They Know, Let Political Foot-Draggers Set Policy
Here's one of the quotes from Tierney that got Romm, and should probably get you, all worked up:

Dr. Holdren is certainly entitled to his views, but what concerns me is his tendency to conflate the science of climate change with prescriptions to cut greenhouse emissions. Even if most climate scientists agree on the anthropogenic causes of global warming, that doesn't imply that the best way to deal with the problem is through drastic cuts in greenhouse emissions. There are other ways to cope, and there's no "scientific consensus" on which path looks best.

The thing that really gets me in this is the idea that because one is an expert in the science of global warming, they aren't capable or entitled to make recommendations on the best way to mitigate that.

If rising greenhouse gases are responsible for global warming, human activity is the cause of this (let's remember that while not every last single scientist believes this to be the case, that's solidly the consensus), and that this is going to have catastrophic effects on many ecosystems and on human populations, it seems that the exact people to turn to come up with a course of action are the people who have studied this.

Sure, we can debate the ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions (prioritizing changing human behavior, cleaner manufacturing methods, and technological mitigation through solutions such as geo-engineering differently), but to insinuate that someone who has studied global warming wouldn't be qualified to prescribe course of action to mitigate global warming is simply crazy.

Read Joe Romm's more complete breakdown of where Tierney goes wrong: More proof Holdren is a great choice: Pielke, Tierney, Lomborg, and CEI diss him

And Lloyd's piece on how Tierney distorted science on another occasion: 5 Ways the New York Times Columnist Distorts the Facts
John Holdren photo: Woods Hole Research Center
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