NOAA Administrator Renews America’s Commitment to Science

April 9, 2009

NOAA Administrator, Dr. Jane Lubchenco is sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden.

NOAA Administrator, Dr. Jane Lubchenco is sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

Vice President Joe Biden today presided over a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony of Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, in recognition of the agency’s role in providing sound and open science as the foundation for environmental and economic strength. John Holdren, Ph.D., was also sworn in as the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

“Jane Lubchenco and John Holdren have blazed trails in the world of science, and we expect them to do the same here,” said Vice President Biden. “Our ability to compete in a 21st century economy hinges on our ability to innovate. I am confident Doctors Lubchenco and Holdren will work daily to ensure the economic policies we set inspire scientific progress as well.”

“Scientific knowledge should inform decision-making. Scientists have an obligation to communicate their knowledge in a clear, credible, relevant and useable fashion, and that management and policy decisions should focus on the common good and the long-term,” said Lubchenco. 

“Now is the time, with the President’s inspiration and support and with the best science as our guide, that NOAA can spur the creation of new jobs and industries, revive our fisheries and the economies and communities they support, improve weather forecasting and disaster warnings, provide credible information about climate change and ocean acidification to Americans, and protect and restore our coastal waters ecosystems.”

Since taking the helm at NOAA, Lubchenco has raised several agency science priorities including:

“Establishing a National Climate Service - akin to the National Weather Service - is an idea whose time has come,” added Lubchenco.  “It can serve as the honest broker of climate change-related information needed for effective decision-making by industry, government, and civil society.”

For example, climate change is likely changing the patterns of precipitation, which could change plans for water use. Projections from a National Climate Service could help water managers plan for these patterns. Drought, wildfires, and planning the location of a wind farm, for example, require information about future wind patterns, not just historical data. The same goes for drought, wildfire and even weather dependant diseases, which may affect populations.

“I am inspired by the opportunity for NOAA to seize this moment to make meaningful changes for our nation and our environment, especially amid a changing climate,” said Lubchenco. “I am mindful of the challenges, yet inspired to find durable solutions. NOAA has a central role to play in the research, synthesis, communication, management, policy and provision of services. And to this end, I pledge to bring diligence, transparency, fairness, integrity and accountability to the job.”

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.