Five Reasons to be Optimistic About the Future of Clean Energy, Carbon Emissions, and Resilience

Dry EarthA host of experts joined Reuters and The Forum at Harvard Chan School for a televised panel called Climate Change: Responses from the Public and Private Sectors. These are their key takeaways. 

A host of experts, including Associate Director Dr. Aaron Bernstein, joined Reuters and The Forum at Harvard Chan School for a televised panel called Climate Change: Responses from the Public and Private Sectors. These are their key takeaways, reprinted with permission from The Forum. 

1.  Climate leadership comes from the bottom, not the top.


“Washington is not where it’s at,” says former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy. “We need to recognize what cities and states are doing right now. When the federal government is asleep, they are stepping up.”

2. Many regulations cannot be undone with a swipe of a pen, says McCarthy.


“It takes a rule to undo a rule, and I’m confident that we did the outreach we needed to do, we based it on science and the law, and they are going to stick.”

3. The members of the bi-partisan U.S. Climate Alliance, which includes 14 states and Puerto Rico, have signed on to the Paris Agreement in the wake of the federal withdrawal.


“You can say with this U.S. Climate Alliance, that the world's 3rd largest economy is moving forward with Paris to defeat climate change with the rest of the world,” says Washington governor Jay Inslee.

4. Businesses are demanding greener technologies, says Ann Klee of GE, because they recognize the climate problem and think that sustainability makes good business sense. 


“They want long-term certainty,” says Klee. “They want the technologies, either for power generation or transportation, that are clean.” 

5. The benefits of fighting climate change are clear and tangible, says Aaron Bernstein.


“If we do what we need to do to address this problem, we’ll probably have attained the biggest public health victory ever,” says Bernstein. “Bigger than vaccines, bigger than sanitation.”

Brief video clips


Aaron Bernstein emphasizes need to make the health arguments clear.

Each panelist provided a key takeaway.

Gina McCarthy on state and local efforts on climate change.

Gov. Jay Inslee on the U.S. Climate Alliance's progress.

Expert Panelists


Gina McCarthy, Former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

Jay Inslee, Governor, Washington

Ann Klee, Vice President, Environment, Health & Safety, GE

Karen Smith, Director and State Public Health Officer, California Department of Public Health

Aaron Bernstein, Associate Director, Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Moderator


Scott Malone, Boston Bureau Chief, Reuters

 

Watch the whole event online