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Meeting the Intertwined Challenges of Energy and Environment

Events: The Robert C. Barnard Environmental Lecture


Meeting the Intertwined Challenges of Energy and Environment

Dr. John P. Holdren
Harvard University
and The Woods Hole Research Center
Chair of the AAAS Board of Directors


Energy is a technological problem, an economic problem, a problem of domestic and international politics, and an environmental problem. Its difficulty resides above all in the interactions and tensions among these dimensions. At the very core of the matter is the tension between energy’s economic benefits and its environmental costs: in a fundamental way, environment is the hardest part of the energy problem and energy is the hardest part of the environment problem. The hardest part of the energy-environment intersection, moreover, is global climatic disruption by greenhouse gases from fossil-fuel use. This talk elaborates on these propositions and their implications for what we must do.

About John P. Holdren

John P. Holdren is the Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy and Director of the Program on Science, Technology, and Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, as well as Director of the Woods Hole Research Center. He is also a professor in Harvard’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and the immediate past President and current Chair of the Board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His research and engagement with policy have focused on energy technology and policy, causes and consequences of global environmental change, and nuclear nonproliferation and arms control.

Trained in space science and plasma physics at MIT and Stanford, Dr. Holdren co-founded in 1973 and co-led until 1996 the interdisciplinary graduate program in Energy and Resources at the University of California, Berkeley.

He is a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, as well as of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations. He also serves as Co-Chair of the independent, bipartisan National Commission on Energy Policy.


Background of the Lectureship and the Man it Honors

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