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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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Holdren Gets Warm Embrace From Letterman on Climate Policies
3 September 2009 10:55 am
The words "bantering" and "climate change" rarely go together. But last night, presidential science adviser John Holdren and late night talk show host David Letterman pulled it off. Making his second appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, Holdren deftly handled all manner of questions, both serious and silly, on the topic while simultaneously plugging the Obama Administration's policies.
After Letterman asked whether global warming means his son may never see snow, Holdren shot back, "It depends on his latitude." But when Letterman called coal the "culprit" and said he doubted there was such a thing as "clean coal," Holdren chose his words carefully. "There is no such thing as clean coal," he began, "but there is cleaner coal." Asked whether he could leaven the continuing stream of bad news about the worsening impact of global warming on the planet, Holdren mentioned the U.S. economy's increasingly efficient use of energy and talked about opportunities for people "to make a lot of money" on new energy technologies.
But just as Holdren was beginning to tick off how the stimulus money is helping move the country to a low-carbon economy, Letterman interrupted with a non sequitur. "So does the president like your beard?" Amid laughter from the CBS studio audience in New York City, Holdren was rendered speechless. And the show went to commercial before he could reply.
Even though Letterman gave top billing to actor Jason Bateman—bantering about his new movie, snakes, and slippers—Letterman seemed genuinely interested not just in climate change but also in the job of the science adviser. Asked how often he talked with the president, Holdren answered candidly, "sometimes a couple of times a week, sometimes not for a few weeks," adding that "it's catch as catch can."
It was an impressive performance, especially at a time—Holdren took his seat at 12:23 a.m.—when most policymakers are fast asleep. The 15-minute segment closed with the 65-year-old physicist getting a verbal pat on the back. Expressing his displeasure with the policies of former President George W. Bush and his support for the new Administration, Letterman opined that "we have many reasons to breathe a little easier these days, and you're one of them."
There's no clip of Holdren's appearance on the Late Show Web site (you can check out Jason Bateman), but the full show should be posted in a day or two.