A game plan for leadership on climate change

In MIT talk, Environmental Defense Fund president calls for action from U.S. and China

November 12, 2013

Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp

Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp

Climate change deniers may be shrinking in number, Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp said Nov. 6 at MIT.

All the more reason, he said, to push policymakers in the U.S. and China for action that will reduce the effects of carbon emissions worldwide.

The last four years have seen a 12 percentage point rise in Americans who say there is evidence for climate change, Krupp, who has led the nonprofit advocacy group for 29 years, said.

“And it’s not just in the blue states,” he said, pointing to an Environmental Defense Fund survey in greater Sioux Falls, S.D., that showed 71 percent of people there believe climate change is real.

“People will trust their own observations,” Krupp said. “And the evidence is all around us from droughts to wildfires and superstorms to searing heat.”

Krupp made the comments during his keynote address at the MIT Climate CoLab Conference, held Nov. 6-8 on the MIT campus.

“I don’t want to overstate the progress. Congress is still gridlocked with anything having to do with climate change,” he said. “But the public and the president increasingly get it.”

Krupp called for the U.S. and China to lead the effort to cut carbon emissions, develop the smart energy grid, and carefully monitor and reduce methane leakage from natural gas production. He called on China to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy, reduce coal use, increase energy efficiency, and develop infrastructure, policy, and an enforcement arm, similar to the Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S.

The Climate CoLab conference, this year titled “Crowds and Climate” is co-sponsored by the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, the MIT Energy Initiative, the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative, and the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.

This year’s conference included a series of panel discussions, a half-day “unconference” where attendees set the agenda, and the naming of the winners of the 2013 Climate CoLab Contest.