Sunday, November 9, 2008

Al Gore's Call for Change on Climate and Energy Issues

Al Gore presents a five point plan for addressing climate/energy issues in today's New York Times.

1) Congress should offer large-scale investment in incentives for the construction of concentrated solar thermal plants and wind farms.

2) Begin the planning and construction of a unified national smart grid for the transport of renewable electricity from the rural places where it is mostly generated to the cities where it is mostly used.

3) Help America’s automobile industry to convert quickly to plug-in hybrids that can run on the renewable electricity more readily available in the future.

4) Begin a nationwide effort to retrofit buildings with better insulation and energy-efficient windows and lighting since approximately 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States come from buildings.

5)Put a price on carbon here at home, and by lead efforts to replace the Kyoto treaty next year in Copenhagen with a more effective treaty that caps global carbon dioxide emissions.

We are excited to have our students study these ideas and propose changes necessary to save our economy and our planet at the same time.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A New Dawn

Today's Wall Street Journal online posted 2 interesting op-ed pieces on climate change:

A New Dawn
As Barack Obama shifts from a waking dream to the real world, he faces the near-virtual reality of climate change and according to Ian McEwan, he has to move decisively.

Copenhagen Business School professor Bjørn Lomborg argues that "Global warming also needs strong leadership. Avoiding the lost decades and misused resources of a Kyoto approach would be paramount, and a focus on 0.05% of GDP R&D would fix long-term global warming at much lower cost and with much higher probability of success. This, truly, would be change we could believe in."

President - elect Obama has pledged to create millions of "green jobs," in fields such as wind and solar energy and has committed to mandating that the U.S. generate 10% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2012, and 25% by 2025. The goals of fighting global warming reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil may not be feasible given the state of our economy. Hopefully Obama and his team will be able to figure out how to best approach both goals.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Top Priorities of an Obama Administration

The first priority for the Obama administration will be "to stabilize the financial system. We don't know yet what's going to happen in January. And none of this can be accomplished if we continue to see a potential meltdown in the banking system or the financial system. So that's priority number one, making sure that the plumbing works in our capitalist system."

"Priority number two of the list have put forward I think has to be energy independence. We have to seize this moment because it is not just an energy independence issue, it is also a national security issue and it is a jobs issue. And we can create 5 million new green energy jobs with a serious program," Obama stated in an interview with CNN as reported by a Boston Globe blog.

New Energy for America

Will Obama's $150 billion energy policy to bolster renewable energy technology and conservation have a chance in this dire economic situation with the recent $700 billion bailout plan?

As Thomas Friedman has argued, many of the nation's top priorites such as the economy, the war in Iraq and terrorism are linked to energy policy. I ordered Flat, Hot and Crowded for the library which explains how critical our energy choices will be for America's future as a world power.

If Obama makes good on promises to pursue cap and trade emissions, that will be one step toward changing the course of global warming.

New Trier Organic Garden