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Out With The New, In With The Old
Volume 4, Number 39: 26 September 2001

Disenchanted with the seemingly one-sided reporting of the global warming debate, four years ago I embarked upon a journey that led to the creation of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change.  Together with my brother Keith and a handful of scientific advisors, we set about developing a vehicle to disseminate, as our Mission Statement says, "factual reports and sound commentary on new developments in the world-wide scientific quest to determine the climatic and biological consequences of the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content."

Early on, it became apparent that the means by which we would accomplish our mission would be the Internet.  After all, it was free, or at least we thought it was, until we had to pay for the domain name registration, the monthly server fee, thel software, the required computers and the dial-up connection.  Certainly, however, it was much less costly than starting our own journal or print magazine, and it gave us the potential to reach a world-wide audience.

Our plans called for the online publication of editorials on topics of current concern, together with mini-reviews of recently published peer-reviewed scientific journal articles, books and other educational materials pertaining to the effects -- and non-effects -- of the rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration on the biosphere.  Throughout this endeavor, it was our goal to separate reality from rhetoric in this emotionally-charged debate.

Eventually, after careful consideration and planning, we posted the first issue of CO2 Science Magazine on 15 September 1998.  Our initial offering consisted of but one Editorial and ten Journal Reviews.  From that small beginning, however, we developed a major source of ready reference material.  Our website today, for example, consists of more than 150 megabytes of information on over 200 different subjects dealing with global change.  Each month that information is viewed by patrons from over 100 different countries who have registered over four million hits on our website during the magazine's first three years of existence.

This successful undertaking has not been without its critics.  To each of them, we have attempted to respond within the realms of science and reason.  Much of the criticism has been well-intended, centered on scientific issues and with no offense taken.  Other criticism has not been so kind.  Of course, we have also received a great deal of encouragement from the numerous expressions of gratitude that many of you have sent to us, acknowledging the service we provide.  Such comments and well-wishes are what keep us going, issue after issue.

When all is said and done, however, "to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven" (Ecclesiastes 3:1); and it is now my time to move on.  With mixed emotions I thus announce that this will be the last time I function as a regular contributor to -- and editor of -- CO2 Science Magazine.  Effective as of the close of business on 3 October 2001, I will step down as President of the Center to accept the position of Director of Environmental Science at Peabody Energy in St. Louis, Missouri. I will, however, remain associated with the Center as a scientific advisor.

Taking my place as Center President will be Dr. Sherwood B Idso, Keith's and my father.  Instead of out with the old and in with the new, it will thus be out with the new and in with the old! At an age when one should be enjoying retirement, our dad has kindly agreed to come on board to direct the Center's activities.  In fact, he says he's looking forward to it, that it's actually his idea of fun.

The new/old Dr. Idso has had a distinguished career over the past 34-plus years with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service at the U.S. Water Conservation Laboratory in Phoenix, Arizona, where he was one of the earliest scientific voices to challenge the doom and gloom scenario of CO2-induced climate apocalypse back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when the potential role of carbon dioxide in global warming first gained prominence.  Now, however, he has decided to retire to focus his efforts on running the Center and producing the weekly issues of CO2 Science Magazine.  He will thus leave federal service at the stroke of midnight on 3 October 2001 and assume his new duties the following day.

What should you expect from our website and weekly science magazine in the months and years to come?  Probably more of what we hope it has been in the past: a voice of reason nestled within the confines of the peer-reviewed scientific literature.  So fasten your seat belts; the new ride begins next week.  As for me, it's so long, farewell, but not goodbye.  If my dad could come back after more than 34 years, perhaps I might also.

Dr. Craig D. Idso