The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) met on October 18-19 to discuss climate change, energy, and the environment. Co-chairs Frances Arnold (California Institute of Technology), Maria Zuber (Massachusetts Institute of Technology [MIT]), and Eric Lander (Science Advisor to the President and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy) provided opening remarks regarding the urgency of responding to growing threats presented by intense and more frequent storms, extreme heat, wild fires, and flooding.

Our nation’s response to climate change and the need for technologies to address climate change were the focus of the two-day discussion that explored new approaches to current and ongoing climate threats. PCAST members heard from federal officials about the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to address climate change. Experts from academia and the non-profit sector spoke about reshaping the nation’s approach to adaptation and resilience; the need to accelerate the deployment of current and on-the-horizon technologies; the need for innovation to meet Net Zero 2050; the need to prioritize environmental justice concerns and to include marginalized communities in solutions; the national security implications of climate change; and the enormous opportunities for creating new energy sectors and jobs.

Throughout the 2-day meeting, PCAST members engaged in a lively question and answer and discussion session with the speakers.

INVITED SPEAKERS (in order of presentation)

Day 1:

  • Gina McCarthy, The White House National Climate Advisor
  • Michael Oppenheimer, Princeton University
  • Jane Lubchenco, The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • Jesse Jenkins, Princeton University
  • Arun Majumdar, Stanford University

Day 2:

  • Richard Hawryluk, Chair, NASEM report, Bringing Fusion to the U.S. Grid, and the U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
  • Erin Sikorsky, The Center for Climate and Security

Additional information about this meeting and PCAST’s future meetings can be found at


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