IN NOMINATING John Holdren to be director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy — the position known informally as White House science adviser — President-elect Barack Obama has enlisted an undisputed Big Name among academic environmentalists, one “with a resume longer than your arm,” as Newsweek’s Sharon Begley exulted when the announcement was made. Holdren is a physicist, a professor of environmental policy at Harvard, a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the director of the Woods Hole Research Center, and the author or co-author of many papers and books.
He is also a doom-and-gloomer with a trail of erroneous apocalyptic forecasts dating back nearly 40 years — and a decided lack of tolerance for environmental opinions that conflict with his.
The position of science adviser requires Senate confirmation. Holdren’s nomination is likely to sail through, but conscientious senators might wish to ask him some questions. Here are eight: