Arab named as chief scientist at NASA
Online biographies of him studiously avoid any mention of his early background but Waleed is an Arab name so he is almost certainly a Muslim -- though at the outside he could be a Lebanese Christian.
As Muslims often have loyalties that transcend loyalty to the country in which they live, this appointment does not inspire much confidence in his future words and deeds.
But if such doubts are justified he would in any case be in comparably unreliable company among NASA environmental officials. One thinks, of course, of Jim Hansen and his ever-changing temperature histories.
I note that Abdalati's first degrees were in engineering so his environmental expertise would seem slight. But IPCC head Pachauri is an engineer too so scientific expertise would seem to be no precondition for environmental appointments anyway
University of Colorado-Boulder faculty member Waleed Abdalati has been selected as NASA's chief scientist.
The 46-year-old associate geography professor will start the two-year term in January.
Abdalati directs the Earth Science Observation Center at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Studies, a venture of the university and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. His research focuses on understanding changes in Earth's ice cover.
Abdalati will be chief adviser to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on the agency's science programs, planning and science investments. He'll work with the White House, Office of Management and Budget, and Congress.