As the global threats to civilization accelerate toward major impacts, the time to wrestle with policy in the traditional ways is less available. Most of these threats have solid scientific frameworks to guide rational policy formation. Science has not been a major player in this process. Most policy people have come from political science and/or law. Scientists have not traditionally seen their role as driving policy. In prior ages this might have been reasonable. In the past most policy issues involved disputational situations, so legalistic debate was appropriate. The current situation is driven by scientifically determined forces and the scientific mind set is more appropriate to decisions.
A council of prominent scientists in various fields should be formed and given cabinet level prominence. Mr. Obama needs to be open to an education on issues that I suspect he currently is not receiving. For example, he needs to hear from the more scientific form of economics, ecological or biophysical economics. His understanding of economics comes from neo-classical economists and will not serve him or us well as the flow of energy declines in the future. Similarly, he needs people who are more familiar with the scientific and technical realities of alternative energy production. These views are not currently represented anywhere in his transition or government teams.