Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Energy Independence

This week in the NYT, Nobel Prize Winner Al Gore laid out a 5 part plan to repower America with a commitment to produce 100 percent of our electricity from carbon-free sources within 10 years. It’s a goal, he notes, that’s been on the table since the Nixon administration; since the early 1970s, however, the country’s dependence on foreign oil has doubled from one-third of its use to two-thirds. The bold steps are as follows:

1. Build solar thermal energy plants in our deserts, longitudinal wind farms through the middle of the country, and geothermal “hot spots” wherever possible.
2. Design a smart-grid to take in and more effectively route electricity.
3. Incentivize the Big Three automakers (and start-ups) to develop plug-in hybrid cars.
4. Retrofit buildings to make them more energy efficient.
5. Replace the Kyoto treaty with a more stringent document that calls for caps on worldwide carbon emissions.

Gore leaves the op-ed piece with this: This year similarly saw the rise of young Americans, whose enthusiasm electrified Barack Obama’s campaign. There is little doubt that this same group of energized youth will play an essential role in this project to secure our national future, once again turning seemingly impossible goals into inspiring success.

I recommend reading the entire NYT article: The Climate for Change