When the cameras aren’t rolling, President Obama ponders honeybee colony collapse disorder, fusion energy, and climate change. In truth, he’s a real “science geek.”
That’s at least according to John Holdren, Obama’s chief adviser on science and technology. In an NPR interview reported by The Hill, Holdren said he believes Obama is the “most science-aware president since Thomas Jefferson.”
“I can never predict what kind of question I will get from this president,” Holdren said.
Obama’s interest in science is well-documented. He’s the only president to have held an annual White House Science Fair. The White House has hosted four since he took office. “At no point has [Obama’s] inner geek been more evident than [at the Science Fair,]” the Associated Press noted in 2012, documenting the president as he helped an eighth-grader fire a high-speed marshmallow air cannon in the White House’s State Dining Room.
The White House has also held series of online chats called “#WeTheGeeks,” which are meant to highlight and discuss interesting U.S.-based science and technology innovation.
“He loves the stuff,” the AP’s report said.
Publicly, Obama’s science interests have been particularly focused on fighting climate change. While in office, Obama has proposed limits on carbon emissions from power plants, the most significant thing a President has ever done to address climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency under Obama has also proposed regulations limiting methane — a powerful greenhouse gas — from landfills, the third-largest source of methane emissions in the country, and energy efficiency standards for heating and cooling systems. The administration announced partnerships with tech companies to develop carbon-reducing technologies, pledged $68 million in funding toward advancing solar power and energy efficiency in rural areas, and implemented a series of executive actions to tackle methane leaks from natural gas pipelines.