The President’s Science Guru

Written by Allan Erickson on January 15, 2022

Dr. Eric Lander is director of Biden’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, a Cabinet-level position. Hence, Dr. Lander is one of the most powerful people in the executive branch. Some say he is the most powerful scientist in history.

What is the OSTP, created in 1976?

“The mission of OSTP is to maximize the benefits of science and technology to advance health, prosperity, security, environmental quality, and justice for all Americans.”

Last month, Lander told a gathering of scientists that our present methods of calculating emissions (carbon dioxide and methane) are incorrect and prone to manipulation. This is a staggering assertion. Is Lander saying the bulk of climate change theory is based on inaccurate data? It would seem so. Thus, he recommends a solution to this problem: a global surveillance system using satellites and many other devices (in the air and on the ground) to improve measurements in real-time.

Lander and other experts in Europe and China are calling for a global federation of partners to expand existing monitoring systems and build on those to achieve 24/7 monitoring of the entire globe, down to the street level.

Last spring, California announced its collection of private and public interests would launch a $100M climate monitoring satellite system of its own.

NASA has a multi-billion dollar plan to launch an entire fleet of satellites to increase surveillance even more.

Lander says these systems will map excess emissions, help scientists battle climate change, identify violations, and punish the guilty. What are the implications for individual liberty or the potential for global tyranny?

Lander, a biologist and geneticist, is controversial. He is characterized by some colleagues as being focused on self-interest, even if he has to stretch the truth, while other colleagues call his appointment to the OSTP a brilliant move. Lately, he has been challenged to divest from his financial involvement with a COVID vaccine maker. Earlier, he was embroiled in controversy over his conflicts with a rival genome sequencing researcher.

Americans already skeptical about climate change theory, and even more suspicious of climate policy under Biden, can add to their stress imagining a world under constant surveillance, where people worry about burning a light bulb too long on any given day. Are we approaching COVID detention camps for the unvaccinated, with room for climate deniers?

If climate change theory is eventually disproved, what then? Will the nations of the world dismantle these massive surveillance systems, or will they find other uses for them?

Allan Erickson
Allan Erickson---Christian, husband, father, journalist, businessman, screenwriter, and author of The Cross & the Constitution in the Age of Incoherence, Tate Publishing, 2012.