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John P. Holdren

John P. Holdren

Former Director and Faculty Chair, Science, Technology and Public Policy Program

Member of the Board (on leave), Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

 

Experience

John P. Holdren is on leave from the Belfer Center to serve as the Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Dr. Holdren is currently Assistant to the President 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). He assumed office in the Obama administration in 2009.

Prior to joining the Obama administration, Dr. Holdren was Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy and Director of the Program on Science, Technology, and Public Policy at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. He also was a professor in Harvard's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Director of the independent, nonprofit Woods Hole Research Center.

Previously, Holdren was on the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, where he co-founded in 1973 and co-led until 1996 the interdisciplinary graduate-degree program in energy and resources. During the Clinton administration Dr. Holdren served as a member of PCAST through both terms and in that capacity chaired studies requested by President Clinton on preventing theft of nuclear materials, disposition of surplus weapon plutonium, the prospects of fusion energy, U.S. energy R&D strategy, and international cooperation on energy-technology innovation.

Dr. Holdren holds advanced degrees in aerospace engineering and theoretical plasma physics from MIT and Stanford. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as a foreign member of the Royal Society of London and former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He served as a member of the MacArthur Foundation’s Board of Trustees from 1991 to 2005, as Chair of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on International Security and Arms Control from 1994 to 2005, and as Co-Chair of the independent, bipartisan National Commission on Energy Policy from 2002 to 2009.

His awards include a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship, the John Heinz Prize in Public Policy, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, and the Volvo Environment Prize. In December 1995 he gave the acceptance lecture for the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, an international organization of scientists and public figures in which he held leadership positions from 1982 to 1997.

 

 

By Date

 

2016

commons.wikimedia.org

March, 4, 2016

"Welcome Home, Scott Kelly. Now Let’s Go to Mars"

Op-Ed, WIRED

By John P. Holdren, Former Director and Faculty Chair, Science, Technology and Public Policy Program and Charles Bolden

ON TUESDAY, MARCH 1, 2016, Commander Scott Kelly returned home from the International Space Station after twelve months working off the Earth, for the Earth. His year in space will pay scientific and medical dividends for years to come, helping pave the way for future astronauts to travel to Mars and beyond.

 

2015

NASA

July 13, 2015

"Pluto Flyby: An Unmatched American Accomplishment"

Op-Ed, Baltimore Sun

By John P. Holdren, Former Director and Faculty Chair, Science, Technology and Public Policy Program and Charles Bolden

"America is poised to reach a new milestone Tuesday in exploration and discovery. Fifty years after Mariner-4's historic flyby of Mars, 20 years after the Galileo spacecraft arrived at Jupiter and five years after President Barack Obama challenged America's space program to extend humanity's reach in space while strengthening America's leadership here on Earth, the New Horizons spacecraft will reach Pluto, providing the closest view humanity has ever seen of the dwarf planet."

 

2013

Patrick Cashin MTA Photo

October 28, 2013

"After Sandy, Rebuilding Smarter with S&T"

Op-Ed, OSTP Blog

By John P. Holdren, Former Director and Faculty Chair, Science, Technology and Public Policy Program

"Increasing America's preparedness for future storms means more than building taller and stronger barriers to stand up against severe weather. A climate-resilient America is one built on a foundation of the best information and innovative ideas and one that incorporates scientific knowledge to understand risks, take preventative steps, improve disaster-response and recovery, and protect our communities."

 

 

January 11, 2013

"Expanding the Climate Change Conversation"

Op-Ed, OSTP Blog

By John P. Holdren, Former Director and Faculty Chair, Science, Technology and Public Policy Program and Jane Lubchenco

"...[A] committee of independent advisors to the U.S. Government released its first draft of a new National Climate Assessment (NCA)—a 400-page synthesis of scientists' current understanding of climate change and its impacts in the United States. The Global Change Research Act of 1990 calls for an NCA to be produced at least every four years—the last came out in 2009. The draft NCA is a scientific document—not a policy document—and does not make recommendations regarding actions that might be taken in response to climate change. Today is the first time the Government has been presented with this draft and the administration will be one of a number of entities that will begin the process of reviewing it. When completed about a year from now, however—after considerable inputs from the public and expert reviewers—it will represent the most thorough, rigorous, and transparent assessment ever of climate change and its U.S. impacts."

 

2009

AP Photo

Fall 2009

"Energy for Change: Introduction to the Special Issue on Energy & Climate Change"

Journal Article, Innovations, issue 4, volume 4

By John P. Holdren, Former Director and Faculty Chair, Science, Technology and Public Policy Program

"Without energy, there is no economy. Without climate, there is no environment. Without economy and environment, there is no material well-being, no civil society, no personal or national security. The overriding problem associated with these realities, of course, is that the world has long been getting most of the energy its economies need from fossil fuels whose emissions are imperiling the climate that its environment needs."

 

 

May 2009

"Policy for Energy Technology Innovation"

Book Chapter

By Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and John P. Holdren, Former Director and Faculty Chair, Science, Technology and Public Policy Program

"The United States ought to be the leader of the world in the energy technology innovation that is needed. It has the largest economy, uses the most energy (and within that total the most oil), has made the largest cumulative contribution to the atmospheric buildup of fossil carbon dioxide that is the dominant driver of global climate change, has a large balance of payments stake in competitiveness in the global energy technology market as well as a large stake in the worldwide economic and security benefits of meeting global energy needs in affordable and sustainable ways, and possesses by many measures the most capable scientific and engineering workforce in the world. The actual performance of this country in energy-technology innovation, however, has been falling short by almost every measure...."

 

2008

Tom FitzSimmons

December 20, 2008

Harvard Kennedy School's John P. Holdren Named Obama's Science Advisor

Press Release

By Sharon Wilke, Associate Director of Communications, Sasha Talcott, Former Director of Communications and Outreach and John P. Holdren, Former Director and Faculty Chair, Science, Technology and Public Policy Program

President-elect Barack Obama announced in his radio address Saturday that he has selected Harvard's John P. Holdren to serve as Assistant to the President for Science and Technology in the new administration. The post, popularly known as "the President's science advisor," also includes directorship of the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President and requires Senate confirmation. 

 

 

August 5, 2008

"Climate-Change Skeptics Revisited"

Paper

By John P. Holdren, Former Director and Faculty Chair, Science, Technology and Public Policy Program

STPP Director John P. Holdren's August 4, 2008, op-ed, "Convincing Climate Change Skeptics", which appeared in both the Boston Globe and International Herald Tribune, has generated much criticism. Professor Holdren has written this essay in response.

 

 

August 4, 2008

"Convincing the Climate-Change Skeptics"

Op-Ed, The Boston Globe

By John P. Holdren, Former Director and Faculty Chair, Science, Technology and Public Policy Program

"THE FEW climate-change "skeptics" with any sort of scientific credentials continue to receive attention in the media out of all proportion to their numbers, their qualifications, or the merit of their arguments. And this muddying of the waters of public discourse is being magnified by the parroting of these arguments by a larger population of amateur skeptics with no scientific credentials at all....The extent of unfounded skepticism about the disruption of global climate by human-produced greenhouse gases is not just regrettable, it is dangerous. It has delayed — and continues to delay — the development of the political consensus that will be needed if society is to embrace remedies commensurate with the challenge."

 

 

July 9, 2008

Report of the Harvard University Task Force on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Report

By William C. Clark, Harvey Brooks Professor of International Science, Public Policy, and Human Development; Co-director, Sustainability Science Program; Faculty Chair, ENRP and John P. Holdren, Former Director and Faculty Chair, Science, Technology and Public Policy Program

Harvard University released the report of its Greenhouse Gas Task Force. The task force, appointed by President Drew Faust in February, proposes elements of a framework for much-intensified efforts to reduce the University's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as part of a broader effort to promote environmental sustainability.

 
Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program

The Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program (STPP) applies methods drawn from technology assessment, political science, economics, management, and law to study problems where science, technology, and policy intersect.

Energy Policy Recommendations to the President and the 110th Congress

The National Commission on Energy Policy proposes revised policies regarding a cap and trade proposal for addressing global climate change, increases in fuel economy standards, approaches for the storage of nuclear waste, development and deployment of advanced coal technologies, adoption of a national renewable energy standard, and other major energy policy issues.

Events Calendar

We host a busy schedule of events throughout the fall, winter and spring. Past guests include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.