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Statements of Support for the Clean Power Plan from Science and Technology Leaders

OSTP Director John P. Holdren shares a selection of statements of support from science and technology leaders, including members of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), on the President's newly announced Clean Power Plan.

In response to the Monday, August 3 announcement of the Clean Power Plan, I have received many statements of support from science and technology leaders, including members of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). I am pleased to share a selection of those statements here:


The President’s Clean Power Plan is to be applauded as an important additional step to combat climate change, working in concert with the Climate Action Plan. U.S leadership is imperative to achieve global cooperation at the climate negotiations this year, and global action is needed to keep climate change from becoming catastrophic. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector is a necessary piece. 

The U.S. National Climate Assessment, required by the Congress, concludes that health effects, economic effects, and environmental impacts of climate change are already evident in the United States. Increases in the number and severity of floods, life-threatening heatwaves, and shifts in ranges of plants and animals, have been well-documented. The Clean Power Plan will stem the growth of greenhouse gas emissions, improve the efficiency with which energy is used, and spur growth in clean energy sources.  This is a legacy our generation must leave to the next.

Dr. Rosina Bierbaum

PCAST Member

Professor and former Dean, School of Natural Resources and Environment

University of Michigan

OSTP Assistant Director and Associate Director for Environment 1993-2000

OSTP Acting Director 2001


I just wanted to take this opportunity to express my enthusiasm for the President’s Clean Power Plan. The United States continues to be a major emitter of greenhouse gases, and coal-fired power plants are a large part of the problem.  As I understand the President’s market-based plan, it offers new opportunities for business and flexibility for states to comply. This latest initiative adds to the President’s comprehensive plan to deal with carbon emissions. Moreover, it signals to the rest of the world that the United States is willing to lead in an effort to deal with global warming and climate change.

Dr. Neal Lane

Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of PCAST, 1998-2000

Senior Fellow, Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy

Malcolm Gillis University Professor Emeritus

Professor of Physics and Astronomy Emeritus

Rice University

The President’s announcement of the Clean Power Plan is timely and most welcome. It's a clear sign of U.S. leadership as the world prepares to negotiate the climate treaty in Paris in December. Climate change is no longer a hypothetical future; it is happening now. Daily we hear of damages to our coastal communities as sea level rises, to marine life as the oceans warm, to our croplands exposed to more floods and droughts, and to businesses whose supply chains are disrupted. Controlling greenhouse gas emissions is essential to stemming dangerous climate change and the energy sector must be transformed to include more efficient and more renewable sources. The Clean Power Plan moves us strongly in this direction. I greatly appreciate all that you are doing on this front.

Dr. Jane Lubchenco

Distinguished University Professor, Oregon State University

Member, National Academy of Sciences

Under Secretary of Commerce and NOAA Administrator (2009-2013)

2015 Tyler Laureate for Environmental Achievement 

I want to commend the Administration for the breadth of its plan and the efforts to which it has gone to create a plan that, while it provides sufficient flexibility at the state level, has not backed away from the reality of what must be done.

The data and global, peer-reviewed models continue to confirm that without sufficient and timely action over the next decade, we will lose the opportunity to meet the levels of greenhouse gas reductions needed by 2050 to give global society a chance to adapt to what will still be a much warmer world. I am also firmly convinced, as the President noted yesterday, that U.S. global leadership in establishing and executing this plan is critical to the global community reaching an acceptable path forward in Paris with all major emitters committing to aggressive reduction goals.

While greenhouse gas reductions are paramount in the rationale and details of the CPP, I found it compelling that the plan and analysis also speak to how the steps to be taken will enhance the Nation’s competitive position in a global cleaner energy economy. The CPP also recognizes the steps that must be taken in retraining, local economic transition assistance, and flexible timing, if we are to accomplish these moves. History has shown – the Clean Air and Clean Water legislation – that as a country we can manage through and ultimately prosper in these transitions.

The weeks ahead promise to be filled with lively and important debate. The CPP released yesterday frames the hard – but achievable – steps we must take.

Dr. Michael McQuade

PCAST Member

Senior Vice President for Science and Technology

United Technologies Corporation

I strongly endorse the Clean Power Plan unveiled this week by President Obama. The plan will result in significant health benefits, and more importantly, it is a historic step in the fight against climate change.  Unabated emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases would imply an unacceptable risk for future generations; the CPP is an important step towards achieving an international agreement to mitigate such risk.

Dr. Mario Molina

PCAST member

Distinguished Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry

University of California, San Diego

Professor, Center for Atmospheric Sciences

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, 1995

Member, National Academy of Sciences

The Clean Power Plan (CPP) announced yesterday is a major step forward in the Administration's Climate Action Plan. The implementation of the CPP will lead to major reductions in greenhouse gases in the United States. It will enhance the credibility of the United States as the leader in the fight against climate change. The flexibility built into the rule will allow states to implement programs most relevant and economic to their state's needs. I am in full support of this plan.

Dr. Maxine Savitz

PCAST Vice-Chair

General Manager (retired), Honeywell

Vice President, National Academy of Engineering, 2006-2014

The revised Clean Power Plan that the President announced yesterday demonstrates his seriousness about putting America on a path to lead the world towards a solution to global warming. The new EPA rules will make a substantial change in the electricity sector, dramatically increasing the use of renewables, as well as increasing efficiency and encouraging investments in clean electricity generation. The plan will be implemented in a smart way, allowing different states to emphasize different types of strategies to achieve the mandated emissions reductions. And the plan’s impact will extend far beyond the 32 percent reduction within the electricity sector. As the electricity sector lowers its greenhouse gas emissions, I expect this will encourage other sectors, including transportation, residential, commercial, and industrial, to adopt technologies that will shift their sources of energy towards low-carbon electricity, compounding the gains mandated by this plan. The plan also positions the United States in its rightful place of world leadership on climate change, demonstrating to other countries, in particular China and India, that the United States is committed to leading the world toward a global solution. Now, some may say that the plan does not go far enough, and that this ambitious set of policies will not keep the world from experiencing serious impacts of climate change. It is true that the President’s Clean Power Plan is hardly the final chapter. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero will require sustained effort at a global scale for many decades. And even then, we will be unable to avoid serious climate impacts – although we may be able to fend off the most disastrous consequences brought about by much higher greenhouse gas levels that will happen if we don’t start now. This plan begins the process for an acceleration of effort on reducing emissions that is long overdue. Do we need to do more? Absolutely! But this plan begins the process by creating markets for low-carbon technologies, and unleashing American innovation, which will ultimately help the world to transform its energy systems.

Dr. Daniel Schrag

PCAST Member

Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology

Professor, Environmental Science and Engineering

Director, Harvard University Center for Environment

Harvard University

Dr. John P. Holdren is Assistant to the President for Science & Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.