Obama, after meeting Gore: “This is a matter of urgency and national security”

E&E News PM reports on the meeting between PEBO, VPEJB, and the Nobel-Prize-winning VP:

“All three of us are in agreement that the time for delay is over,” Obama said. “The time for denial is over.”

He added, “We all believe what the scientists have been telling us for years now, that this is a matter of urgency and national security, and it has to be dealt with in a serious way. That is what I intend my administration to do.”

Obama has called for a cap-and-trade program that would cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

I will post shortly a detailed analysis on why that 1990 target is no longer adequate. More on the meeting:

Obama and Democratic leaders are crafting a massive economic stimulus package that is expected to include energy efficiency and perhaps other energy provisions. And more broadly, they have tied their economic message to the idea that bolstering low-carbon energy sources and efficiency is a way to create scores of jobs.

“We have the opportunity now to create jobs all across this country in all 50 states to repower America, to redesign how we use energy and think about how we are increasing efficiency to make our economy stronger, make us more safe, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and make us competitive for decades to come even as we save the planet,” Obama said.

He pledged that his White House would work with “a whole host of stakeholders” on the issue, including Gore, members of both parties, business leaders, consumers and others. His approach, he said, would be “aggressive.”

“So I am grateful to Vice President Gore that he has shared the information that he has with us,” Obama said. “And I am looking forward to a busy next couple of years getting our arms around this issue.”

News of the meeting had prompted renewed speculation that Gore, arguably the world’s most prominent advocate of aggressively combating global warming, might join the Obama administration in some capacity to address energy and climate issues. But Gore has said repeatedly that he is not planning to re-enter government, a view his spokeswoman reiterated this week.

Obama is expected to announce his nominees for environmental and energy positions soon.

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) is visiting Washington, D.C., tomorrow to discuss energy policy with Obama’s transition team. She will also meet with members of the state’s congressional delegation about aid to struggling automakers and the upcoming economic stimulus package, a spokeswoman said.

Granholm has been frequently mentioned as a possible choice for Energy secretary. Granholm spokeswoman Liz Boyd said that “the focus of the governor’s visit tomorrow is a policy visit.”

“The governor has been asked repeatedly about a possible appointment in an Obama administration, and the governor has said repeatedly she is looking forward to serving as governor with a partner in the White House,” Boyd said.

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13 Responses to Obama, after meeting Gore: “This is a matter of urgency and national security”

  1. paulm says:

    I am really frustrated. I am about to change cars. I want to do my part and switch to a electric vehicle yet the option is not readily available.

    Commercial E-Cars like the ZENN aren’t legal here in BC, even though they are made in Canada (sell in the US)!

    I would also upgrade to solar electricity right now if I could sell back to the grid and there were incentives, but this does not fly either.

    These are two straightforward programs that would convert the landscape overnight as I am sure there is a ground swell of others like me. What the hell is holding these up?

  2. jorleh says:

    Perhaps Obama is the man who understands the potential energy of Greenland and Antarctic ice masses to make energy and water for whole the world for thousands of years.

    Climate catastrophe is coming only because of human stupidity. The solution is easy and clear.

  3. Rick says:

    paulm – whats holding things up? lawyers and regulations and general inertia I would say. Now Gore and Obama want to tackle that and move things forward. well okay – but as Paul has noted in BC, the frustrating rust and inertia of the big machines of government, industry and the whole system in general won’t easily melt away.

    It’s going to be interesting to watch this unfold.

  4. Paul K says:

    I sympathize with paulm’s frustration. My state, Illinois, has mandatory buy back. It can and should be pressed politically any place where it is not now the law.

    As to what is holding things up, you are. Well, actually we are. There is no time to wait for the politicians when the people have the ability to act right now. Those of us who understand the absolute necessity of replacing fossil fuel can accomplish the transformation if we only have the will to begin.

    One of the most inspiring statements Barrack Obama made during the campaign was, “We are the people we’ve been waiting for.”

  5. mitchell porter says:

    jorleh – could you explain this ice-sheet potential-energy concept of yours, or link to an explanation. I don’t get it at all. Is the idea that the ice sheets yield up energy as they slide into the sea??

  6. jorleh says:

    mitchell porter: The idea is really just so simple. Only you don´t let the ice go to sea, but you take it in ships. In large ships of million or tens of millions cubic meters and ship the ice to cities and dry areas of the world for fresh water. If you let the ice in sea, sea level goes up of course.

    You get 5 TWh electricity per one cubic kilometer of ice when you let it down three kilometers: mgh. You let ice down in kind of ships or trails or with some other simple mechanisms. This system drives generators to make electricity.

    Your water ships are fuelled with batteries or hydrogen which is manufactured in situ.

    The electricity generated is transported via low resistance high voltage direct current cables around the world.

    No more climate catastrophe, OK? And if you say that is not possible, show with calculations that it is not possible.

  7. mitchell porter says:

    It sounds like the world still heats up under this scheme; you just don’t have sea level rise. And the heating alone creates many other problems, like the drying up of rivers, ocean acidification, change of latitudinal climatic zones, etc.

    I’m also reminded of a scheme to tap Antarctic wind power.

    I would suggest that you take the idea to Michael Tobis’s globalchange group:

    Someone should be inspired to discuss it quantitatively. I see they already have a discussion of the potential energy of glaciers in the archives for February 2007.

    Also, if you can find a forum to discuss geoengineering, it might fit in there. In fact, please let us know if you do find such a forum, because I haven’t found one.

  8. mitchell porter says:

    Wait, I was thinking that the ice breakup was fundamentally still driven by global warming. I suppose you could have some other impetus.

    Also, there is presumably some rate of use and some climatic regime which would allow this to go on indefinitely, and not just thousands of years – so long as the ice sheets were replenished by snowfall at a rate equal to their consumption.

    Anyway, I recommend again, take the idea to globalchange or to a geoengineering forum if one exists.

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    I’ve submitted an idea and wanted to see if you could vote for it. The title is: “Accepting human limits and Earth’s limitations”. You can read and vote for the idea by clicking on the following link: ideas/ view/ accepting_human_limits_and_earths_limitations

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  10. jorleh says:

    mitchell porter: the good news of the generation of the world´s energy and water of the great ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica are: we all know that Greenland ice cap is going to melt in a couple of centuries anyway and the Antarctic ice cap during some more centuries. Let´s take the ice away before that happens.

    Never mind that using only ice cap potential energy drops CO2 back to under 350 ppm as Jim Hansen demands. I am sure that this is our only possibility to survive.

  11. Sasparilla says:

    The ice cap idea is interesting – something to use those giant oil tankers for after they’ve been put out of use and cleaned, but won’t most of this water wind up in the sea or atmosphere and then sea anyways?

  12. Aaron d says:

    I’m not 100% sure myself if your idea would actually be feasible. Though, if you begin to remove ice from Greenland or Antarctica you’ll be removing it before it melts. This would prematurely reduce the albedo of those areas increasing their rate of warming, further exacerbating the AGW problem. I agree it may be a good way to get fresh water to those who need it but honestly I don’t think you could ever get others to go along with removing large portions portions of antarctic ice to produce energy. Drinking water…maybe, but not so sure about energy.

  13. Steve Wrathall says:

    There’s been no global warming since 1998