John Holdren about renewable energy movement in US


I rushed to a hotel in Manhattan to meet John Holdren, senior advisor to President Barack Obama on science and technology issues. He was preparing himself for a Bloomberg gala but still, he found almost two hours to drink an ice tea with me and talk about wind energy in Texas, Trump’s administration, Mark Twain’s wisdom on lies and pike fishing in a Polish Masurian river.

Agata Skrzypczyk: Why are politicians so reluctant to recognize climate change?

John Holdren: It’s primarily a political game. Republicans fear that taking climate change seriously would lead to a wide-ranging regulation of which they generally oppose. Consequently, they consistently deny any scientific facts related to climate change. I think more than half of the Republicans are aware of global warming, but they make fun of it because of party discipline and fear of regulation.

AS: But how can you make fun of the indisputable facts about the climate?

JH: Some time ago, the Washington Post magazine reported that Trump had told at least 10,000 documented lies since he took office. As Mark Twain said, a lie is halfway around the world before the truth has time to put on its shoes. Trump’s mockery in one sentence on Twitter requires a whole paragraph of scientific explanation. Despite the availability of knowledge, few people bother to dig into it. Scientists are in a very difficult position, lagging behind the speed with which the words of politicians go around the world.

AS: However, clean energy is developing at a surprising pace in the US. In the so-called Midwest states, more people are currently employed in renewable energy sources than in conventional energy.

JH: Of course! Wind and solar energy is becoming more and more efficient, and thus cheaper.

Read more: the original article was published here at Heinrich Böll Foundation on 10th of September 2019.