John Holdren on the role of science in our changing climate

John Holdren: Science has had a major role in understanding what’s happening and understanding how much we need to do in order to address climate change.

Physicist John Holdren is the science and technology advisor to U.S. President Barack Obama.

John Holdren:
The biggest contribution of science and of technology going forward, and of innovation going forward, is going to be in crafting solutions that address the climate change challenge, and simultaneously address other challenges we care about: oil dependence, air pollution, jobs, clean energy.

Dr. Holdren said he believes the U.S. is ready to take some difficult steps in response to climate change.

John Holdren:
My impression, talking to other leaders in science and technology from around the world is that people are aware that science is back, in terms of emphasis in our government in the United States and in our readiness to work with other countries, cooperating on science and technology to address these big challenges.

Those challenges exist today, he said, because about 80 percent of the energy that the world consumes comes from CO2-emitting fossil fuels. Holdren said science will be needed to devise ways to use energy more efficiently, and shift to energy sources such as wind, solar, and others.

John Holdren:One of the reasons I’m optimistic about our ability to meet this challenge is that we can get a lot of good things done simultaneously with many of the steps that we need to take.

January 18, 2010

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