Today, President Obama’s chief science adviser, John Holdren, is in town for several events, including a meeting with the Green Ribbon Commission created by Boston Mayor Menino to address climate change.
As nuclear and coal plants retire throughout New England, the natural gas industry is pushing for more pipelines to stabilize the energy supply, while environmental advocates argue against increasing dependence on fossil fuels that contribute to climate change.
Holdren is director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He says the priority should be placed on renewable energy sources like wind and solar. But he says those sources can’t meet demand overnight, so natural gas makes sense as a so-called “bridge” source of energy.
“It still releases a lot of carbon dioxide and ultimately we will want either to phase out natural gas along with coal, or in the long run, to deploy technologies that can actually capture the CO2, that would otherwise be released and sequester it away from the atmosphere,” he says “and we are studying that for natural gas as well as for coal.”
Holdren says the White House is counting on power plants reducing carbon emissions to meet a new pledge the US made in advance of international climate talks in Paris next month. He says the Obama administration believes that – even without cooperation from Congress – the nation can reduce emissions by as much as 28 percent—below 2005 emission levels of greenhouse gases by the year 2025.