Welcome Kevin Vranes

October 28th, 2005

Posted by: Roger Pielke, Jr.

Through a complicated process involving discerning the significance of goat entails and astrological interpretation, the CIRES visiting fellows committee decided at the beginning of 2005 to offer a visiting fellowship/post-doc to Kevin Vranes, who some of you may recognize as an occasional contributor to Prometheus. Well, let me say I’m glad they made this decision. Kevin is smart, has excellent training and experience in both science and policy, and is going to add some color around here, I have no doubt.

Check out Kevin’s most recent posts over at his group weblog, http://nosenada.org/cblog/. Here is an excerpt:

“It was May 2004 and I had been a Senate staffer for about eight months. Word went out on the wire that there would be two staff briefings on consecutive days for staffers with bosses on the Environment and Public Works Committee. [Yes, that EPW committee. The one chaired by James Inhofe (R-Pluto).] It wasn’t made explicit in the announcements, but I could tell that one would be a skeptics day and the other a “climate change is happening” day.”

Read the whole post for the whole story.

Vranes’ accompanies this post with his 2004 letter to Paul Epstein, which is a classic. If even 10% congressional staff is this thoughtful, then U.S. democracy is in good shape. Here is an excerpt:

“Thank you for briefing Senate staff on climate change and public health today. While I enjoyed the opportunity to have a public discussion on these important issues, and I appreciate your personal mission to educate the public on climate change, I must take exception to the facts and implications you presented. While I share your mission of bringing information about climate change to Congress, I believe you overstated the climate change evidence today to the point of irresponsibility. You, as a scientist and public educator, are not serving the policy-making community well by exaggerating the evidence for consequences of climate change. While talking to Congressional staffers on questions of climate change, you are lecturing to a well-educated and intellectually curious, but largely un-informed crowd. While you may hold personal and/or scientific intuitions about the realities and consequences of climate change, I believe that it is your responsibility, as a working scientist, to present as clear a representation of the facts as possible and to qualify unproven conjecture. By presenting suppositions as fact, confusing unrelated natural mechanisms and citing anecdotal episodes as indicative of larger phenomena without supporting data, you only added to the politicization of this issue.”

Read it all.

Kevin will be joining us here at the University of Colorado by January, 2006. Expect Prometheus to get a little more edgy, a bit more sarcastic, and a whole lot more fun than the wonky stuff you are used to. Kevin, we’re looking forward to it!

5 Responses to “Welcome Kevin Vranes”

  1. Dylan Otto Krider Says:

    Good stuff. Though I come here for the wonky stuff, I look forward to reading more of his stuff.

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  3. Dylan Otto Krider Says:

    Good stuff. Though I come here for the wonkiness, I look forward to reading more of his posts.

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  5. Richard Belzer Says:

    Please explain why Kevin’s work should be taken seriously if the best he can do is append “R-Pluto” to Sen. Inhofe’s name.

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  7. kevin v Says:

    Nice cherry pick! I guess I would respond that if you read everything else I’ve written here, on http://nosenada.org/cblog and elsewhere, if you still think that the “best [I] can do” is that one innocuous little quip, I will have lost a fan I never had. 8-)

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  9. Steve Bloom Says:

    I agree with RB! Unlike Pluto itself, there’s no dispute that Inhofe hails from somewhere in the Kuiper Belt. :)