Friday, March 20, 2009

News flash: science to guide policy

The newly-confirmed head of NOAA, Dr. Jane Lubchenco, has announced that science will guide policy on oceans, climate and other issues in front of her agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The most shocking news coming out of this announcement is that it's news. Since when is science not a useful guide to policy on such matters? Science helps us understand the viable range of options, the world of the possible. When we step outside the world of the possible, we're in trouble.

The alternative to having science guide policy is to rely on other ways of peering into the future, like relying on the fellow at left. No doubt he's a fine fellow, but I wonder if his policy advice is reliable?

Dr. Lubchenco was running into opposition from some New England fishing interests and politicians, based on the view that she's anti-fishing because she supports an end to overfishing. Come on New Englanders, join the 20th century now that we're all in the 21st century.

New England fishermen and their supportive politicians would prefer to continue overfishing groundfish, because it's too costly to stop. There are few things that will get me so outraged as support for overfishing as though that will somehow help fishermen. Talk about killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

This is all couched in support or opposition to the "interim rule" in New England which is all about ending overfishing and rebuilding groundfish.

Please note that it's not a partisan issue, Democrats as well as Republicans in New England are supporting overfishing, thanks to the sage advice of the fellow on the left. Ugh.

Dr. Lubchenco's confirmation is great news for oceans. Now, about that New England problem...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jane Lubchenco has always stressed the need for scientists to learn how best to convey science to the public in general. If anyone can help the twentieth century folk adapt to the present, it would be her. It has to be done quickly, and with help from the rest of the new administration 'best available science' may actually advance rapidly to be used toward ocean conservation.
Ray Kinney