The TH Interview: Andy Revkin--Climate in the Obama Age



Hopes are high for an Obama-led climate strategy, but when it comes to true details there are still more questions than answers. Andrew C. Revkin has stationed himself at the intersection of science, technology, and policy for two decades, watching closely and writing like a madman. Revkin's reporting can be found in the New York Times, where he is a senior environment writer, as well as at Dot Earth. He also pops up regularly on TreeHugger around issues like geoengineering, climate taxes, and population growth. We asked Andy to shed some light on the Obama climate picture as it unfolds.

Listen to the podcast of this interview via iTunes, or just click here to listen, right-click to download.

Full text after the jump.TreeHugger: I want to talk about Barack Obama and what the incoming presidential administration is going to mean for the climate.

Via your blog, Dot Earth, you've elicited from your readers a list of suggestions on what the transition team should be working on. In the realm of climate, what have people spoken up about?

Andy Revkin: Well, there is a bunch of stuff coming in and I have more coming onto the blog even as we speak. White roofs, for example. Someone just told me white should be the new green as a way to cool places off and blunt some of the warming effect of growing CO2. A more reflective world is a better place, and cities still tend to be very dark.

The post I put up was about saving the planet on a budget. In other words, we know for several years to come at least we're in a time of great economic constraint and rebuilding and uncertainty, and that means whatever gets done has to be done with that in mind.

So, what can you do realistically? Some of the ideas I posed just to prime the pump were as simple as diverting a little bit more foreign assistance money, that's already flowing for communicable diseases, towards family planning; because one thing that got left out of the whole spectrum for a long time is population growth.

And the whole question of how much our influence on the planet will be limited in the next few decades, there's really two questions: how many and how much? How many people? How much stuff? (How much energy? How much food?)

So, if you can modulate either number you're doing something significant, and if you can do it on a budget, so much the better. And again, these aren't always directly related to, like, turning off a smokestack. There are other things you can do, and we have to be creative, I think.

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