Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Urgency of climate change, new research emerges at MIT forum

By Noah Spies

A sense of urgency pervaded Monday’s clean energy forum, which was sponsored by the MIT Energy Initiative and featured a who’s who of energy and climate change policy. The forum was moderated by Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), who is co-authoring legislation designed to tackle technologically and politically difficult global warming and clean energy issues.

The forum featured a presentation by John Holdren ’65, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Holdren noted that the rate of global warming continues to outpace predictions, including those made within a 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

As a student at MIT in the 1960s, Holdren was inspired by the race to put a human on the moon. However, he said that the U.S. and the world face a far greater task in reducing human greenhouse gas emissions to levels that would avoid catastrophic climate changes.

In his presentation, Holdren outlined a number of cost-effective measures that could reduce carbon-dioxide emissions.

Markey noted that his bill would support the realization of many of these measures by spurring energy-efficient retrofits of existing buildings and increasing efficiency in energy utilities.

Markey also emphasized the role research would play in further achieving these goals and highlighted the MIT spinoff company A123 Systems, which aims to dramatically improve the efficiency of existing batteries.

The forum also featured Daniel Yergin, Chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, as well as Prof. Ernest Moniz, Director of the MIT Energy Initiative. …

Urgency of Climate Change, New Research Emerges at MIT Forum

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