Campus & Community

Target: Climate change

4 min read

Presidential panel to discuss wide-ranging concerns at Sanders Theatre on April 13

Experts from the worlds of science, government, economics, business, and history will gather in Sanders Theatre on April 13 at 4 p.m. for a wide-ranging panel discussion on how society in general and universities in particular can best confront the perils posed by climate change, Harvard President Drew Faust announced today.

The discussion, to be introduced by Faust and moderated by Charlie Rose of CBS and PBS, will bring together President Barack Obama’s principal science adviser, the co-chair of a major international climate change group, and five leading scholars prominent in seeking solutions to climate change.

“As a scientific consensus has firmly established, climate change presents one of the world’s most urgent and demanding challenges. All of us share an interest and responsibility in confronting that reality and pursuing effective solutions,” said Faust, who on March 17 delivered an address on climate change at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

“I am pleased we will have the benefit of such a distinguished group of panelists to elevate attention to the need for action and to spur us all to focus even more intently on how society and universities, in particular, can rise to the challenge,” Faust added. “We have an extraordinary range of efforts already underway across Harvard, and the magnitude and complexity of the problem demand that we do even more.”

Panelists are expected to include:

  • Joseph Aldy, assistant professor of public policy, Harvard Kennedy School; former special assistant to the president for energy and environment, the White House.
  • Christopher Field, co-chair, Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; founding director, Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution for Science; Lane Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies, Stanford University; member, Harvard University Board of Overseers; Harvard ’75.
  • Rebecca Henderson. McArthur University Professor, Harvard University; co-director, Business and Environment Initiative, Harvard Business School.
  • John Holdren, assistant to the president for science and technology, the White House; co-chair, President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology; former Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; former professor of environmental science and public policy, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University.
  • Richard Newell, Gendell Professor of Energy and Environmental Economics, Duke University; director, Duke University Energy Initiative; former administrator, U.S. Energy Information Administration; former senior economist for energy and environment, President’s Council of Economic Advisers; Harvard Ph.D. ’97.
  • Naomi Oreskes, professor of the history of science and director of graduate studies, Department of the History of Science, Harvard University; co-author of “Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming.”
  • Daniel Schrag, Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology, professor of environmental science and engineering, and director of the Harvard University Center for the Environment, Harvard University.

In recent years, the University has substantially broadened and deepened its research and educational programs focused on climate change and on energy and the environment. Most recently, the University announced the first recipients of grants from the President’s Climate Change Solutions Fund, intended to catalyze a new generation of efforts to accelerate the transition to renewable sources of energy.

Last year, Harvard created a secondary field in energy and environment for undergraduates and launched the Center for Green Buildings and Cities at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Across Harvard’s 13 Schools there are 239 faculty conducting research related to climate, energy, and the environment, and 243 courses are offered to students covering the topics of energy, the environment, or sustainability.

Showcasing such efforts in scholarship and thinking related to climate change, the Harvard University Center for the Environment will host a series of events during the week of April 6–10.

In addition to research and education, Harvard continues strong progress toward meeting its aggressive goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building a healthier, more sustainable campus.

Last year, Harvard Management Company joined the Carbon Disclosure Project’s climate change program, intended to drive environmental disclosure and performance of publicly listed companies, while also becoming the first university endowment to adopt the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment.

Please click here to request a ticket for the event.