john holdren

John Holdren


Dee Finney's blog

start date July 20, 2011

Today's date August 9, 2012

page 267




i heard a radio interview after the success ull Mars Rover Curisoity landing on Mars.  But the information given about President Obama's Science Director scared me - and it should scare everyone to the point where we work to get rid of him in the office he holds.

John Paul Holdren (born March 1, 1944) is the senior advisor to President Barack Obama on science and technology issues through his roles as Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST)[1]

Holdren was previously the Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, director of the Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program at the School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and Director of the Woods Hole Research Center.[2]

Holdren was born in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, and grew up in San Mateo, California.[3] He trained in aeronautics, astronautics and plasma physics and earned a bachelor's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1965 and a Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1970. He taught at Harvard for 13 years and at the University of California, Berkeley for more than two decades.[1] His work has focused on the causes and consequences of global environmental change, energy technologies and policies, ways to reduce the dangers from nuclear weapons and materials, and science and technology policy.[1][2] He has also taken measures to contextualize the U.S.'s current energy challenge, noting the role that nuclear energy could play.[4] In 2008, he lived in Falmouth, Massachusetts, with his wife, biologist Cheryl E. Holdren, with whom he has two children and five grandchildren.[3]

Holdren was involved in the famous Simon–Ehrlich wager in 1980. He, along with two other scientists helped Paul R. Ehrlich establish the bet with Julian Simon, in which they bet that the price of five key metals would be higher in 1990. The bet was centred around a disagreement concerning the future scarcity of resources in an increasingly polluted and heavily populated world. Ehrlich and Holdren lost the bet, when the price of metals had decreased by 1990.[5]

Holdren was chair of the Executive Committee of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs from 1987 until 1997 and delivered the Nobel Peace Prize acceptance lecture on behalf of Pugwash Conferences in December 1995. From 1993 until 2003, he was chair of the Committee on International Security and Arms Control of the National Academy of Sciences, and Co-Chairman of the bipartisan National Committee on Energy Policy form 2002 until 2007. Holdren was elected President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (2006–2007), and served as board Chairman (2007–2008).[2] He was the founding chair of the advisory board for Innovations, a quarterly journal about entrepreneurial solutions to global challenges published by MIT Press, and has written and lectured extensively on the topic of global warming.

Holdren served as one of President Bill Clinton's science advisors (PCAST) from 1994 to 2001.[1] Eight years later, President Barack Obama nominated Holdren for his current position as science advisor and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy in December 2008, and he was confirmed on March 19, 2009, by a unanimous vote in the Senate.[6][7][8][9] He testified to the nomination committee that he does not believe that government should have a role in determining optimal population size[10] and that he never endorsed forced sterilization.[11][12][13]

[edit] Recent publications

Holdren is the author of over 200 articles and papers, and he has co-authored and co-edited some 20 books and book-length reports, including:[14]

[edit] Early publications

Overpopulation was an early concern and interest. In a 1969 article, Holdren and co-author Paul R. Ehrlich argued, "if the population control measures are not initiated immediately, and effectively, all the technology man can bring to bear will not fend off the misery to come."[21] In 1973, Holdren encouraged a decline in fertility to well below replacement in the United States, because "210 million now is too many and 280 million in 2040 is likely to be much too many."[22] In 1977, Paul R. Ehrlich, Anne H. Ehrlich, and Holdren co-authored the textbook Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment; they discussed the possible role of a wide variety of solutions to overpopulation, from voluntary family planning to enforced population controls, including forced sterilization for women after they gave birth to a designated number of children, and discussed "the use of milder methods of influencing family size preferences" such as access to birth control and abortion.[12][23] [24]

Other early publications include Energy (1971), Human Ecology (1973), Energy in Transition (1980), Earth and the Human Future (1986), Strategic Defenses and the Future of the Arms Race (1987), Building Global Security Through Cooperation (1990), and Conversion of Military R&D (1998).[14]

[edit] Awards

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b c d Profile: John Holdren "Why He Matters","", A Washington Post Co Pub. accessed July 24, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c News release. "Obama to Name John P. Holdren as Science Adviser" AAAS, December 18, 2008.
  3. ^ a b Wilke, Sharon; Sasha Talcott (20 December 2008). "Harvard Kennedy School's John P. Holdren Named Obama's Science Advisor". Press release. Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Dan Gardner (2010). Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Fail – and Why We Believe Them Anyway. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart. p. 232.
  6. ^ Staff and news service reports. "Obama's science adviser starts job", "", March 20, 2009.
  7. ^ Library of Congress [1], Nomination PN65-07-111, confirmed by Senate voice vote.
  8. ^ Nominations considered and confirmed en bloc, Congressional Record, March 19, 2009 S3577-S3578.
  9. ^ Koenig, Robert. "President Barack Obama's Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Faces Limited Criticism at Confirmation Hearings", Seed Magazine, February 13, 2009.
  10. ^ Video.[2] Senate Confirmation Hearing, February 12, 2009.
  11. ^ Pratt, Andrew Plemmons "Right-wing Attacks on Science Adviser Continue", Science Progress, July 21, 2009
  12. ^ a b Mooney, Chris."Hold off on Holdren (again)", "Science Progress", July 2009.
  13. ^ Goldberg, Michelle. "Holdren's Controversial Population Control Past", The American Prospect, July 21, 2009, accessed July 30, 2009.
  14. ^ a b "John P. Holdren's CV", The Woods Hole Research Center.
  15. ^ Holdren, John P. "Science in the White House", Science Magazine, Abstract, May 2009.
  16. ^ Holdren, John P."The Future of Climate Change Policy: The U.S.'s Last Chance to Lead", "The Scientific American"
  17. ^ Holdren, John P. "Convincing the Climate Change Skeptics", the Boston Globe, August 4, 2008.
  18. ^ "Faculty page-Harvard University".
  19. ^ Holdren, John P."Global Climatic Disruption: Risks and Opportunities", Presentation at Investor Summit on Climate Risk, New York, February 14, 2008.
  20. ^ Holdren, John P. "Meeting the Climate-Change Challenge.", The John H. Chafee Memorial Lecture, National Council for Science and the Environment, Washington, D.C., January 17, 2008.
  21. ^ Paul R. Erlich and John P. Holdren. "Population and Panaceas A Technological Perspective", Bioscience, Vol 19, pages 1065-1071, 1969.
  22. ^ Holdren, John P. (1973). "Population and the American Predicament: The Case Against Complacency". Daedalus, the No-Growth Society: 31–44. ISBN 978-0-7130-0136-5.,M1.
  23. ^ Ehrlich, Paul R.; Anne H. Ehrlich and John P. Holdren (1977). Ecoscience: population, resources, environment. San Francisco: Freeman. ISBN 0-7167-0567-2.
  24. ^ PolitiFact
  25. ^ "Fellows List: H". MacArthur Foundation. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
  26. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter H". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
  27. ^ "Holdren, John P.". United States National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
  28. ^ "Dr. John P. Holdren". National Academy of Engineering. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
  29. ^ The Heinz Awards, John Holdren profile

[edit] External links

Obama's Science Czar Considered Forced Abortions, Sterilization as Population Growth Solutions


Published July 21, 2009


President Obama's "science czar," John Holdren, once floated the idea of forced abortions, "compulsory sterilization," and the creation of a "Planetary Regime" that would oversee human population levels and control all natural resources as a means of protecting the planet -- controversial ideas his critics say should have been brought up in his Senate confirmation hearings.

Holdren, who has degrees from MIT and Stanford and headed a science policy program at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government for the past 13 years, won the unanimous approval of the Senate as the president's chief science adviser.

He was confirmed with little fanfare on March 19 as director of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy, a 50-person directorate that advises the president on scientific affairs, focusing on energy independence and global warming.

But many of Holdren's radical ideas on population control were not brought up at his confirmation hearings; it appears that the senators who scrutinized him had no knowledge of the contents of a textbook he co-authored in 1977, "Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment," a copy of which was obtained by

The 1,000-page course book, which was co-written with environmental activists Paul and Anne Ehrlich, discusses and in one passage seems to advocate totalitarian measures to curb population growth, which it says could cause an environmental catastrophe.

The three authors summarize their guiding principle in a single sentence: "To provide a high quality of life for all, there must be fewer people."

As first reported by FrontPage Magazine, Holdren and his co-authors spend a portion of the book discussing possible government programs that could be used to lower birth rates.

Those plans include forcing single women to abort their babies or put them up for adoption; implanting sterilizing capsules in people when they reach puberty; and spiking water reserves and staple foods with a chemical that would make people sterile.

To help achieve those goals, they formulate a "world government scheme" they call the Planetary Regime, which would administer the world's resources and human growth, and they discuss the development of an "armed international organization, a global analogue of a police force" to which nations would surrender part of their sovereignty.

Holdren's office issued a statement to denying that the ecologist has ever backed any of the measures discussed in his book, and suggested reading more recent works authored solely by Holdren for a view to his beliefs.

"Dr. Holdren has stated flatly that he does not now support and has never supported compulsory abortions, compulsory sterilization, or other coercive approaches to limiting population growth," the statement said.

"Straining to conclude otherwise from passages treating controversies of the day in a three-author, 30-year-old textbook is a mistake."

But the textbook itself appears to contradict that claim.

Holdren and the Ehrlichs offer ideas for "coercive," "involuntary fertility control," including "a program of sterilizing women after their second or third child," which doctors would be expected to do right after a woman gives birth.

"Unfortunately," they write, "such a program therefore is not practical for most less developed countries," where doctors are not often present when a woman is in labor.

While Holdren and his co-authors don't openly endorse such measures on other topics, in this case they announce their disappointment -- "unfortunately" -- that women in the third world cannot be sterilized against their will, a procedure the International Criminal Court considers a crime against humanity.

Click here to see the passage on sterilizing women | Click here for the full section on "Involuntary Fertility Control"

"It's very problematic that he said these things," said Ben Lieberman, a senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation. Lieberman faulted Holdren for using government as a solution to every problem and advocating heavy-handed and invasive laws.

But other members of the scientific community said accusations against Holdren are wholly misplaced.

"John Holdren has been one of the most well-respected and prominent scientific voices urging the federal government to address global warming," wrote Kevin Knobloch, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, in a statement.

Holdren's co-authors, Paul and Anne Ehrlich, said in a statement that they were "shocked at the serious mischaracterization of our views and those of John Holdren," caused by what they called misreadings of the book.

"We were not then, never have been, and are not now 'advocates' of the Draconian measures for population limitation described -- but not recommended" in the book, they wrote.

Still, William Yeatman, an energy policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, faulted the Senate for not screening Holdren more strenuously during his hearings before confirming his nomination by unanimous consent both in committee and in the full Senate.

Despite "the litany of apocalyptic warnings that turned out to be incorrect, no one was willing to stick his neck out" and vote no, Yeatman said.

Some of Holdren's views on population came under fire during the otherwise quiet confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, where Sen. David Vitter, R-La., asked him to revisit his past statements about environmental catastrophes that have never come to pass.

"I was and continue to be very critical of Dr. Holdren's positions -- specifically his countless doomsday science publications and predictions that have been near universally wrong," Vitter told

"I wish that the Commerce Committee had taken more time to evaluate his record during his nomination hearing, but like with everything else in this new Washington environment, the Democratic majority and the White House were pushing to speed his nomination along," Vitter said.

Vitter grilled Holdren during the hearing, asking him to clear up his 1986 prediction that global warming was going to kill about 1 billion people by 2020.

"You would still say," Vitter asked, "that 1 billion people lost by 2020 is still a possibility?"

"It is a possibility, and one we should work energetically to avoid," Holdren replied.

Sen. John Kerry, a leading Democrat on the committee, said the renewed scrutiny was essentially a Republican smear on Holdren's good record. Kerry told that senators already had "ample opportunity" to question Holdren, who "made clear that he does not and never has supported coercive approaches, end of story.

"The Commerce Committee and the Senate then unanimously concluded what I have long known -- that John Holdren is a leading voice in the scientific community and we are fortunate to have him lead the fight to restore the foundation of science to government and policymaking that has been lacking for almost a decade."

Holdren has confronted a number of challenges during his four-decade scientific career, including nuclear arms reduction, and was part of a group that shared the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize "for their efforts to diminish the part played by nuclear arms in international politics," as the Nobel Committee said.

Now his greatest focus is global warming, which he said in a recent interview poses a threat akin to being "in a car with bad brakes driving toward a cliff in the fog."

Holdren told the Associated Press in April that the U.S. will consider all options to veer away from that cliff, including an experimental scheme to shoot pollution particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun's rays and cool the earth, a last resort he hoped could be averted.

"Dr. Holdren is working day and night for the Obama Administration and the American people, helping to develop science and technology policies to make the country stronger, more secure, and more energy independent, and to make Americans healthier and better educated," his office told

Four months after Holdren's confirmation, his critics are keeping a wary eye on his work in the White House, where they assert that he has the president's ear on scientific issues.

"It is interesting that this 30-year-old book is finally coming to light," said Lieberman, of the Heritage Foundation.

"The people who are concerned about Holdren, quite frankly we didn't do enough homework."

Read more:


Director John P. Holdren

Dr. John P. Holdren is Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). Prior to joining the Obama administration Dr. Holdren was Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy and Director of the Program on Science, Technology, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, as well as professor in Harvard's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Director of the independent, nonprofit Woods Hole Research Center. Previously he was on the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, where he co-founded in 1973 and co-led until 1996 the interdisciplinary graduate-degree program in energy and resources. During the Clinton administration Dr. Holdren served as a member of PCAST through both terms and in that capacity chaired studies requested by President Clinton on preventing theft of nuclear materials, disposition of surplus weapon plutonium, the prospects of fusion energy, U.S. energy R&D strategy, and international cooperation on energy-technology innovation.

Dr. Holdren holds advanced degrees in aerospace engineering and theoretical plasma physics from MIT and Stanford. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as a foreign member of the Royal Society of London and former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He served as a member of the MacArthur Foundation’s Board of Trustees from 1991 to 2005, as Chair of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on International Security and Arms Control from 1994 to 2005, and as Co-Chair of the independent, bipartisan National Commission on Energy Policy from 2002 to 2009. His awards include a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship, the John Heinz Prize in Public Policy, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, and the Volvo Environment Prize. In December 1995 he gave the acceptance lecture for the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, an international organization of scientists and public figures in which he held leadership positions from 1982 to 1997.




President Obama Honors Justin Hagerty for Helping to Explain the Formation and Evolution of the Moon

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USGS scientist Justin Hagerty was one of the 2012 recipients of the President's Early Career Award for Science and Engineering.

Dr. Justin Hagerty, a research geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, was named one of President Obama's recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

Hagerty, an accomplished research geologist, studied the formation of the Moon and discovered the answer to a long-standing riddle of the Moon’s early history. His use of chemical tracers and remote sensing data allowed him to discover why certain elements are concentrated in some areas and not in others, a puzzle which had complicated the primary theory of how the Moon came to be.

"Discoveries in science and technology not only strengthen our economy, they inspire us as a people." President Obama said. "The impressive accomplishments of today’s awardees so early in their careers promise even greater advances in the years ahead."

The Presidential early career awards embody the high priority the Obama Administration places on producing outstanding scientists and engineers to advance the Nation's goals, tackle grand challenges, and contribute to the American economy.

"It is a tremendous and highly unexpected honor to receive such a prestigious award, and I am very grateful for all of the opportunities and support I have received throughout my career, particularly at the USGS," said Hagerty. "Because my research is based on combining data from a variety of disciplines, I have had the opportunity to work with many talented colleagues from varied backgrounds who have helped to shape my career."

"The USGS traces its program in astrogeology back nearly 50 years to the Nation's need to train astronauts destined for the Moon in lunar geology," said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. "The President's recognition of Justin Hagerty for his contributions to explaining long-standing paradoxes concerning the early evolution of the only extraterrestrial body to which man has yet ventured is one of the highest honors yet for this exceptional program."

The commonly accepted theory of how the Moon formed hypothesized that a Mars-sized planetary body collided with a proto-Earth. This massive collision led to the creation of the Moon and the Earth as we know them today. However, one major issue with this theory is that, based on models of such a collision, there should be an even, global distribution of certain elements like potassium, uranium, thorium, and the rare earth elements.

Instead, these elements are mostly concentrated in the hemisphere of the Moon that faces the Earth. To learn why, Hagerty studied expanses of geologic materials on the far side of the Moon called basalt ponds.

Lunar basalts are much like basalts on the Earth in that they are a product of melting the mantle, which is the area between the crust and the core of the Moon. Given this information, it is possible to use compositional data derived from the basalts to learn about the composition of the lunar interior. Much focus has been placed on basalts on the near side of the Moon, primarily because the Apollo missions only returned samples from that part of the lunar surface. However, it is now possible (and necessary) to use a combination of lunar sample analysis and remote sensing observations to investigate materials on the lunar far side, thus giving us a global context.

His research shows that another major impact event on the Moon, now known as the South Pole-Aitken Basin, greatly disrupted the early formation of the Moon, resulting in the migration and eventual concentration of these elements to the side of the Moon that faces the Earth.

"I have also used the methodology of combining sample and remote sensing data to investigate other unresolved issues in lunar science," added Hagerty. "In particular, I worked with several colleagues to establish the existence of silicic volcanic domes on the Moon."

It was previously thought that silicic volcanoes, which erupt silica-rich materials like quartz, instead of the more common basalts, were not possible on the Moon. To explain the origin of these features, Hagerty developed a new model for how such features could be produced in the unique lunar environment. This model demonstrates that silicic lunar volcanoes can be produced quite easily and likely comprise a much larger portion of the lunar crust than was thought. These results have important implications for crustal formation models and calculations of the bulk composition of the Moon.

Hagerty's results are critical to understanding the early history and evolution of our closest celestial neighbor.

"Prior to graduate school, I, like many people, had assumed that the Moon was a dull, lifeless body," said Hagerty. "However, after having the opportunity to learn from experts in lunar science and to examine lunar sample and remote sensing data myself, it quickly became apparent that the Moon is an extraordinary planetary body and that we have only scratched the surface of truly understanding how the Moon formed and evolved. To have an opportunity to play a role in shaping our cumulative knowledge of the Moon is a humbling experience."

Hagerty is currently the curator of the USGS Meteor Crater Sample Collection, as well as the Chair of NASA's Regional Planetary Image Facility Network.

The USGS Meteor Crater Sample Collection is an ongoing project funded by NASA that analyzes drill samples from Meteor Crater and makes the samples available to the planetary science community. The NASA Regional Planetary Image Facility Network is an international system of planetary data libraries that maintains a wide range of data products from NASA planetary missions including photographs, maps, films, engineering plans, and historical documents and artifacts. The overriding mission of the Network is to make these materials available to the public.

Hagerty earned his Ph.D. in Earth and Planetary Sciences from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, in 2004; his M.S. in Earth and Planetary Sciences from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, in 2001, and his B.S. in Earth and Planetary Sciences, with Honors, from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, in 1998. He was a post-doctoral fellow at the Los Alamos National Laboratory from 2004-2007, where he studied lunar geochemistry.

Hagerty came to the USGS in 2007, joining the USGS Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona. He has been the principal investigator on eight NASA studies and collaborated on an additional four studies. His research has examined not only lunar geochemistry, but also lunar mapping, asteroid mapping, and impact cratering.

Hagerty’s official citation from the Award reads:

Department of Interior/US Geological Survey
Justin J. Hagerty
U.S. Geological Survey

For cutting edge research fusing remote-sensing data of the Moon with laboratory measurements to establish a new coherent model of the lunar crust and mantle and for leadership and service contributions for an international network of 17 Regional Planetary Image Facilities.

The Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers was established by President Clinton in 1996, and are coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President. Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach.

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