Al Gore has an op-ed in The New York Times in which he argues that energy security and climate change can both be addressed through the same bold set of policies. He highlights five key areas for action:
- Incentives for concentrating solar in the Southwest, wind farms from Texas to the Dakotas, and new geothermal capacity.
- A national smart grid, including high voltage direct current transmission.
- Plug-in hybrids, capable of acting as an energy storage system for the grid.
- More efficiently heated, cooled, and lit buildings.
- A price on carbon, and an international agreement to succeed Kyoto.
Gore also highlights the importance that those who are now young will play in bringing this about: “The average age of the systems engineers cheering on Apollo 11 from the Houston control room that day was 26, which means that their average age when President Kennedy announced the challenge was 18.” While comparisons to Apollo can be misleading, the exhortation is a convincing one.
Hopefully, Obama realizes the seriousness of this problem and has the political skill to start the rapid transition to a low-carbon economy, and help lead the rest of the world along that path.