Gloom and Doom

Science was not taken very seriously at all by the Bush administration, and Obama is working hard to restore scientific integrity in the executive branch.  Last week, the White House issued a memorandum as part of its effort to correct the ignorance and manipulation of science to fit ideological goals.  It stated that

Political officials should not suppress or alter scientific or technological findings and conclusions.  If scientific and technological information is developed and used by the Federal Government, it should ordinarily be made available to the public.  To the extent permitted by law, there should be transparency in the preparation, identification, and use of scientific and technological information in policymaking.  The selection of scientists and technology professionals for positions in the executive branch should be based on their scientific and technological knowledge, credentials, experience, and integrity.

I’m so glad that our country is moving in the right direction on this issue, but like EcoTone points out

This memo should be reassuring to the scientific community. Yet the fact that it was necessary to explicitly state these seemingly obvious expectations is disconcerting.

We have a lot of work to do.  It isn’t just isolated species or “sensitive” animals like frogs and salamanders that will go extinct, it’s likely that climate change will render our ecosystems unrecognizable.  An administration that listens to what scientists have to say about challenges like climate change is necessary.