In this episode of Seminars at Steamboat, MacArthur Genius Grant recipient and former White House Science Adviser Dr. John Holdren shares his perspectives on the future of climate change in his seminar "Meeting the Climate Change Challenge: What We Know, What We Expect, What We Should Do."
The slideshow accompanying Dr. Holdren's talk is available a the Seminars at Steamboat website.
From the Steamboat Pilot & Today: Environmental expert offers dire climate change outlook during Seminars at Steamboat talk
One of the country's most preeminent environmental experts told a Steamboat Springs audience there's no stopping climate change brought on by human behavior, and it's just a matter of slowing it down and helping people adapt to changes in the ecosystems where they live.
Dr. John Holdren, professor of environmental policy at Harvard University and former director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, spent the first 20 minutes of Monday's Seminars at Steamboat lecture explaining the science behind the rapid increase in global warming, caused mostly by burning fossil fuels. He showed how greenhouse gases are natural in the atmosphere - like water vapor and carbon dioxide - and how they intercept heat from the surface and send it back down.
"Without natural greenhouse gases, the surface would be too cold to support life," Holdren said.
But he said industrialization fueled by burning wood, oil, gas and coal has caused the atmosphere to collect excessive greenhouse gases, like CO2, and it's radiating too much heat back to the surface.
"The good news is human influence has averted the next ice age," said Holdren. "The trouble is, we over-compensated."
It was one of the few laughs he got from a relatively sober audience listening to his talk, "Meeting the Climate Change Challenge: What we Know. What We Expect. What We Can Do."
Ryan Thompson produced this episode. Ryan also edited the podcast. Digital is managed by Ashley Jefcoat. Special thanks Jennie Lay, Joella West, Seminars at Steamboat's board and volunteers, the Steamboat Pilot & Today and the staff of the Strings Music Pavilion for their support. The intro music is "When I'm With You" by Scott Holmes.
Don't miss any of this year's speakers with the Seminars at Steamboat podcast, available on Google Play, iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. New episodes available every Tuesday during the seminars season.