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Bright Future: How Some Countries Have Solved Climate Change and the Rest Can Follow

Thursday, January 10, 2019 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Reception to follow
Registration is required
Members $10 and Non-members $15

Bright Future: How Some Countries Have Solved Climate Change and the Rest Can Follow

Joshua S. Goldstein, Steffan A. Qvist, and moderated by Steven Pinker

As climate change nears potentially disastrous tipping points, a solution is hiding in plain sight. Several countries have successfully replaced fossil fuels with low-carbon energy sources by combining renewable energy with a quick buildout of nuclear power. By following their example, the world could dramatically cut fossil fuel use by midcentury, even as energy consumption continues to rise.

Joshua Goldstein and Staffan Qvist explain how clean energy rapidly replaced fossil fuels in such places as Sweden, France, South Korea, and Ontario, Canada, while enhancing both prosperity and the natural environment. They encourage a fresh look at the assumptions that have long shaped the climate change debate. The event will be moderated by Harvard Professor and acclaimed scientist Steven Pinker.

Joshua S. Goldstein is a leading interdisciplinary expert on international relations who writes about the big issues facing humanity. He is the author of a bestselling college textbook, International Relations, and six other books about war, peace, diplomacy, and economic history. He has written various articles in the leading political science journals, as well as op-ed pieces in The New York Times and elsewhere. Among other awards, his book War and Gender (2001) won the International Studies Association’s “Book of the Decade Award” in 2010. Goldstein has a BA from Stanford and a PhD from MIT. He is international relations professor emeritus at American University in Washington, DC, and research scholar at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, where he lives.

Staffan A. Qvist is a Swedish engineer, scientist, and consultant to clean energy projects around the world. He has lectured and authored numerous studies in the scientific literature on various topics relating to energy technology and policy, nuclear reactor design and safety, and climate change mitigation strategies—research that has been covered by Scientific American, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other media outlets. He is senior director of Energize the Chain, an award-winning nonprofit organization that finds energy solutions to power vaccine refrigeration across the developing world. Qvist holds a PhD in nuclear engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He now helps manage an ambitious solar power expansion initiative in East Africa, while also consulting for a number of “fourth generation” nuclear startups. He lives in London.

Moderator Steven Pinker is an experimental cognitive scientist and one of the world’s foremost writers on language, mind, and human nature. Currently Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, Pinker has also taught at Stanford and MIT. His research on vision, language, and social relations has won prizes from the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, and the Association for Psychological Science. He has also received nine honorary doctorates, several teaching awards at MIT and Harvard, and numerous prizes for his books The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, The Better Angels of Our Nature, and The Sense of Style. He is Chair of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary, and often writes for The New York Times, Time, and other publications. He is an elected Member of the National Academy of Sciences, and has been named Humanist of the Year, Prospect magazine’s “The World’s Top 100 Public Intellectuals,” Foreign Policy’s “100 Global Thinkers,” and Time magazine’s “The 100 Most Influential People in the World Today.”

Pick up a climate fiction book on your next trip to the Athenæum! Try Amitav Ghosh’s The Great Derangement, T.C. Boyle’s Terranauts, or Ian McEwan’s Nutshell.

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