Scince leading the world
Professor John Holdren is considered one of the world’s leading energy scientists, environmental scientists and ecologists, which is reflected in a number of books and a long list of other publications. He has been a leader in the science of nuclear fusion. He has been a pioneering scholar in understanding the interaction of biology and ecology with environmental pollution.
Professor Holdren is since December 2008, Assistant to President Barack Obama for Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). Holdren was previously the Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and director of the Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program at the School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
What has made John Holdren’s opinions so valuable is his scientific background. His interventions into policy questions such as nuclear power, population and environment, energy efficiency, risk assessment and weapons proliferation are each supported by excellent research papers.
His concerns for the impacts of pollution and other problems associated with energy use on human health led him to develop an important methodology for risk assessment and to write a series of important articles on risk assessment. The work is characterized by its fairness to all energy sources comparing nuclear power, fossil fuel use, and even renewables in an even-handed manner that often produce significant, if not always popular, scientific surprises. This work also spawned several students who have become very successful in their own right in broadening the approach.
Convincing the skeptics,
The New York Times, August 2008
In 1969, writing with Paul Erlich, Holdren claimed that, “if the population control measures are not initiated immediately, and effectively, all the technology man can bring to bear will not fend off the misery to come”. In 1973 Holdren encouraged a decline in fertility to well below replacement in the United States, because “210 million now is too many and 280 million in 2040 is likely to be much too many“. Currently, the U.S. population is 306,829,000.
Holdren has written and lectured extensively on the topic of climate change . In 1969 he advocated with Paul R Erlich substantial spending for expansion of nuclear power on the grounds that nuclear plants generate electricity without greenhouse gas emissions.
In 2006, Holdren reportedly suggested that global sea levels could rise by 13 feet by the end of this century. (The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (2007) suggests a potential seal level rise over the same interval on the order 13 inches).