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Breaking News: Gore Speech

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July 17, 2008
A Generational Challenge to Repower America (as prepared)
D.A.R. Constitution Hall
Washington, D.C.
Ladies and gentlemen:

There are times in the history of our nation when our very way of life depends upon dispelling illusions and awakening to the challenge of a present danger. In such moments, we are called upon to move quickly and boldly to shake off complacency, throw aside old habits and rise, clear-eyed and alert, to the necessity of big changes. Those who, for whatever reason, refuse to do their part must either be persuaded to join the effort or asked to step aside. This is such a moment. The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk. And even more — if more should be required — the future of human civilization is at stake.

I don’t remember a time in our country when so many things seemed to be going so wrong simultaneously. Our economy is in terrible shape and getting worse, gasoline prices are increasing dramatically, and so are electricity rates. Jobs are being outsourced. Home mortgages are in trouble. Banks, automobile companies and other institutions we depend upon are under growing pressure. Distinguished senior business leaders are telling us that this is just the beginning unless we find the courage to make some major changes quickly.

The climate crisis, in particular, is getting a lot worse — much more quickly than predicted. Scientists with access to data from Navy submarines traversing underneath the North polar ice cap have warned that there is now a 75 percent chance that within five years the entire ice cap will completely disappear during the summer months. This will further increase the melting pressure on Greenland. According to experts, the Jakobshavn glacier, one of Greenland’s largest, is moving at a faster rate than ever before, losing 20 million tons of ice every day, equivalent to the amount of water used every year by the residents of New York City.

Two major studies from military intelligence experts have warned our leaders about the dangerous national security implications of the climate crisis, including the possibility of hundreds of millions of climate refugees destabilizing nations around the world.
Just two days ago, 27 senior statesmen and retired military leaders warned of the national security threat from an “energy tsunami” that would be triggered by a loss of our access to foreign oil. Meanwhile, the war in Iraq continues, and now the war in Afghanistan appears to be getting worse.

And by the way, our weather sure is getting strange, isn’t it? There seem to be more tornadoes than in living memory, longer droughts, bigger downpours and record floods. Unprecedented fires are burning in California and elsewhere in the American West. Higher temperatures lead to drier vegetation that makes kindling for mega-fires of the kind that have been raging in Canada, Greece, Russia, China, South America, Australia and Africa. Scientists in the Department of Geophysics and Planetary Science at Tel Aviv University tell us that for every one degree increase in temperature, lightning strikes will go up another 10 percent. And it is lightning, after all, that is principally responsible for igniting the conflagration in California today.


Like a lot of people, it seems to me that all these problems are bigger than any of the solutions that have thus far been proposed for them, and that’s been worrying me.
I’m convinced that one reason we’ve seemed paralyzed in the face of these crises is our tendency to offer old solutions to each crisis separately — without taking the others into account. And these outdated proposals have not only been ineffective — they almost always make the other crises even worse.
Yet when we look at all three of these seemingly intractable challenges at the same time, we can see the common thread running through them, deeply ironic in its simplicity: our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels is at the core of all three of these challenges — the economic, environmental and national security crises.
We’re borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that’s got to change.
But if we grab hold of that common thread and pull it hard, all of these complex problems begin to unravel and we will find that we’re holding the answer to all of them right in our hand.
The answer is to end our reliance on carbon-based fuels.
In my search for genuinely effective answers to the climate crisis, I have held a series of “solutions summits” with engineers, scientists, and CEOs. In those discussions, one thing has become abundantly clear: when you connect the dots, it turns out that the real solutions to the climate crisis are the very same measures needed to renew our economy and escape the trap of ever-rising energy prices. Moreover, they are also the very same solutions we need to guarantee our national security without having to go to war in the Persian Gulf.
What if we could use fuels that are not expensive, don’t cause pollution and are abundantly available right here at home?
We have such fuels. Scientists have confirmed that enough solar energy falls on the surface of the earth every 40 minutes to meet 100 percent of the entire world’s energy

needs for a full year. Tapping just a small portion of this solar energy could provide all of the electricity America uses.
And enough wind power blows through the Midwest corridor every day to also meet 100 percent of US electricity demand. Geothermal energy, similarly, is capable of providing enormous supplies of electricity for America.
The quickest, cheapest and best way to start using all this renewable energy is in the production of electricity. In fact, we can start right now using solar power, wind power and geothermal power to make electricity for our homes and businesses.
But to make this exciting potential a reality, and truly solve our nation’s problems, we need a new start.
That’s why I’m proposing today a strategic initiative designed to free us from the crises that are holding us down and to regain control of our own destiny. It’s not the only thing we need to do. But this strategic challenge is the lynchpin of a bold new strategy needed to re-power America.
Today I challenge our nation to commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years.
This goal is achievable, affordable and transformative. It represents a challenge to all Americans — in every walk of life: to our political leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, and to every citizen.
A few years ago, it would not have been possible to issue such a challenge. But here’s what’s changed: the sharp cost reductions now beginning to take place in solar, wind, and geothermal power — coupled with the recent dramatic price increases for oil and coal — have radically changed the economics of energy.
When I first went to Congress 32 years ago, I listened to experts testify that if oil ever got to $35 a barrel, then renewable sources of energy would become competitive. Well, today, the price of oil is over $135 per barrel. And sure enough, billions of dollars of new investment are flowing into the development of concentrated solar thermal, photovoltaics, windmills, geothermal plants, and a variety of ingenious new ways to improve our efficiency and conserve presently wasted energy.
And as the demand for renewable energy grows, the costs will continue to fall. Let me give you one revealing example: the price of the specialized silicon used to make solar cells was recently as high as $300 per kilogram. But the newest contracts have prices as low as $50 a kilogram.
You know, the same thing happened with computer chips — also made out of silicon. The price paid for the same performance came down by 50 percent every 18 months — year after year, and that’s what’s happened for 40 years in a row.

To those who argue that we do not yet have the technology to accomplish these results with renewable energy: I ask them to come with me to meet the entrepreneurs who will drive this revolution. I’ve seen what they are doing and I have no doubt that we can meet this challenge.
To those who say the costs are still too high: I ask them to consider whether the costs of oil and coal will ever stop increasing if we keep relying on quickly depleting energy sources to feed a rapidly growing demand all around the world. When demand for oil and coal increases, their price goes up. When demand for solar cells increases, the price often comes down.
When we send money to foreign countries to buy nearly 70 percent of the oil we use every day, they build new skyscrapers and we lose jobs. When we spend that money building solar arrays and windmills, we build competitive industries and gain jobs here at home.
Of course there are those who will tell us this can’t be done. Some of the voices we hear are the defenders of the status quo — the ones with a vested interest in perpetuating the current system, no matter how high a price the rest of us will have to pay. But even those who reap the profits of the carbon age have to recognize the inevitability of its demise. As one OPEC oil minister observed, “The Stone Age didn’t end because of a shortage of stones.”
To those who say 10 years is not enough time, I respectfully ask them to consider what the world’s scientists are telling us about the risks we face if we don’t act in 10 years. The leading experts predict that we have less than 10 years to make dramatic changes in our global warming pollution lest we lose our ability to ever recover from this environmental crisis. When the use of oil and coal goes up, pollution goes up. When the use of solar, wind and geothermal increases, pollution comes down.
To those who say the challenge is not politically viable: I suggest they go before the American people and try to defend the status quo. Then bear witness to the people’s appetite for change.
I for one do not believe our country can withstand 10 more years of the status quo. Our families cannot stand 10 more years of gas price increases. Our workers cannot stand 10 more years of job losses and outsourcing of factories. Our economy cannot stand 10 more years of sending $2 billion every 24 hours to foreign countries for oil. And our soldiers and their families cannot take another 10 years of repeated troop deployments to dangerous regions that just happen to have large oil supplies.
What could we do instead for the next 10 years? What should we do during the next 10 years? Some of our greatest accomplishments as a nation have resulted from commitments to reach a goal that fell well beyond the next election: the Marshall Plan, Social Security, the interstate highway system. But a political promise to do something

Ten years is about the maximum time that we as a nation can hold a steady aim and hit our target.
When President John F. Kennedy challenged our nation to land a man on the moon and bring him back safely in 10 years, many people doubted we could accomplish that goal. But 8 years and 2 months later, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the surface of the moon.
To be sure, reaching the goal of 100 percent renewable and truly clean electricity within 10 years will require us to overcome many obstacles. At present, for example, we do not have a unified national grid that is sufficiently advanced to link the areas where the sun shines and the wind blows to the cities in the East and the West that need the electricity. Our national electric grid is critical infrastructure, as vital to the health and security of our economy as our highways and telecommunication networks. Today, our grids are antiquated, fragile, and vulnerable to cascading failure. Power outages and defects in the current grid system cost US businesses more than $120 billion dollars a year. It has to be upgraded anyway.
We could further increase the value and efficiency of a Unified National Grid by helping our struggling auto giants switch to the manufacture of plug-in electric cars. An electric vehicle fleet would sharply reduce the cost of driving a car, reduce pollution, and increase the flexibility of our electricity grid.
At the same time, of course, we need to greatly improve our commitment to efficiency and conservation. That’s the best investment we can make.
America’s transition to renewable energy sources must also include adequate provisions to assist those Americans who would unfairly face hardship. For example, we must recognize those who have toiled in dangerous conditions to bring us our present energy supply. We should guarantee good jobs in the fresh air and sunshine for any coal miner displaced by impacts on the coal industry. Every single one of them.
Of course, we could and should speed up this transition by insisting that the price of carbon-based energy include the costs of the environmental damage it causes. I have long supported a sharp reduction in payroll taxes with the difference made up in CO2 taxes. We should tax what we burn, not what we earn. This is the single most important policy change we can make.
In order to foster international cooperation, it is also essential that the United States rejoin the global community and lead efforts to secure an international treaty at Copenhagen in December of next year that includes a cap on CO2 emissions and a global partnership that recognizes the necessity of addressing the threats of extreme poverty and disease as part of the world’s agenda for solving the climate crisis.
5

Of course the greatest obstacle to meeting the challenge of 100 percent renewable electricity in 10 years may be the deep dysfunction of our politics and our self-governing system as it exists today. In recent years, our politics has tended toward incremental proposals made up of small policies designed to avoid offending special interests, alternating with occasional baby steps in the right direction. Our democracy has become sclerotic at a time when these crises require boldness.
It is only a truly dysfunctional system that would buy into the perverse logic that the short-term answer to high gasoline prices is drilling for more oil ten years from now.
Am I the only one who finds it strange that our government so often adopts a so-called solution that has absolutely nothing to do with the problem it is supposed to address? When people rightly complain about higher gasoline prices, we propose to give more money to the oil companies and pretend that they’re going to bring gasoline prices down. It will do nothing of the sort, and everyone knows it. If we keep going back to the same policies that have never ever worked in the past and have served only to produce the highest gasoline prices in history alongside the greatest oil company profits in history, nobody should be surprised if we get the same result over and over again. But the Congress may be poised to move in that direction anyway because some of them are being stampeded by lobbyists for special interests that know how to make the system work for them instead of the American people.
If you want to know the truth about gasoline prices, here it is: the exploding demand for oil, especially in places like China, is overwhelming the rate of new discoveries by so much that oil prices are almost certain to continue upward over time no matter what the oil companies promise. And politicians cannot bring gasoline prices down in the short term.
However, there actually is one extremely effective way to bring the costs of driving a car way down within a few short years. The way to bring gas prices down is to end our dependence on oil and use the renewable sources that can give us the equivalent of $1 per gallon gasoline.
Many Americans have begun to wonder whether or not we’ve simply lost our appetite for bold policy solutions. And folks who claim to know how our system works these days have told us we might as well forget about our political system doing anything bold, especially if it is contrary to the wishes of special interests. And I’ve got to admit, that sure seems to be the way things have been going. But I’ve begun to hear different voices in this country from people who are not only tired of baby steps and special interest politics, but are hungry for a new, different and bold approach.
We are on the eve of a presidential election. We are in the midst of an international climate treaty process that will conclude its work before the end of the first year of the new president’s term. It is a great error to say that the United States must wait for others to join us in this matter. In fact, we must move first, because that is the key to getting others to follow; and because moving first is in our own national interest. 6

7
So I ask you to join with me to call on every candidate, at every level, to accept this challenge — for America to be running on 100 percent zero-carbon electricity in 10 years. It’s time for us to move beyond empty rhetoric. We need to act now.
This is a generational moment. A moment when we decide our own path and our collective fate. I’m asking you — each of you — to join me and build this future. Please join the WE campaign at wecansolveit.org. We need you. And we need you now. We’re committed to changing not just light bulbs, but laws. And laws will only change with leadership.
On July 16, 1969, the United States of America was finally ready to meet President Kennedy’s challenge of landing Americans on the moon. I will never forget standing beside my father a few miles from the launch site, waiting for the giant Saturn 5 rocket to lift Apollo 11 into the sky. I was a young man, 21 years old, who had graduated from college a month before and was enlisting in the United States Army three weeks later.
I will never forget the inspiration of those minutes. The power and the vibration of the giant rocket’s engines shook my entire body. As I watched the rocket rise, slowly at first and then with great speed, the sound was deafening. We craned our necks to follow its path until we were looking straight up into the air. And then four days later, I watched along with hundreds of millions of others around the world as Neil Armstrong took one small step to the surface of the moon and changed the history of the human race.
We must now lift our nation to reach another goal that will change history. Our entire civilization depends upon us now embarking on a new journey of exploration and discovery. Our success depends on our willingness as a people to undertake this journey and to complete it within 10 years. Once again, we have an opportunity to take a giant leap for humankind.

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35 Responses to Breaking News: Gore Speech

  1. Wow.
    Reminds me of what a loss to the world it is that he wasn’t elected US President back then. Oh, hang on, he was! But…

  2. Why doesn’t he suggest a national feed in tariff? With a 14-20 cent feed in tariff for CSP baseload in the Southwest we could achieve this goal; in successive generations of plants the tariff would go down perhaps to 10 cents by the end of the decade. As is, it is not clear in his proposal how the money get us from here to there.

    The Danish island of Samsoe (small of course) has gone carbon negative in 10 years with the help of a feed in tariff.

    See this article by Betsy Kolbert in the New Yorker:
    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/07/07/080707fa_fact_kolbert

    We could do the same, especially in renewable resource rich areas of the US.

  3. kenlevenson says:

    Important point:

    “To those who argue that we do not yet have the technology to accomplish these results with renewable energy: I ask them to come with me to meet the entrepreneurs who will drive this revolution. I’ve seen what they are doing and I have no doubt that we can meet this challenge.”

  4. Ronald says:

    quite a written speech. to bad Al had a few more skills in that area, but this should do.

    I’m sure they are very excited about this at the coal mines. I remember a few years ago I was reading Coal Age magazine at the library and 3 months in a row the editor opinion page was complaining about wind power so I took that to mean that wind power had arrived.

    One reason the countries leadership could make landing people on the moon a goal is because there wasn’t a more powerful lobby to make sure that it didn’t happen.

    I’m sure it will be brought up what happens to all those coal supply contracts, utilities who buy a million tons a year for twenty years pay this amount. Got to get around that. But I suppose that is a lessor part of this proposals problems.

  5. paulm says:

    Gore for Vice President!

  6. In the past I have subscribed to Amory Lovins’ plan for getting off of carbon by the 2040s. This new challenge is remarkable.

    Anybody know why Gore used the term “electricity” instead of “energy” when he laid out the goal? Didn’t he just leave out the transportation sector? Was he only speaking of buildings and industry in ten year’s time? Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

  7. Yeah, he says this:

    “Today I challenge our nation to commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years.”

    That’s not about gasoline and heating oil.

  8. gmb says:

    He definitely talked about transportation. Going forward, plug-in hybrids (in the near future) will run largely off the grid.

    10 years is also very aggressive. Perhaps that’s why he limited it to electricity. We won’t be able to get off oil entirely in 10 years.

  9. Brian D says:

    Christopher S. Johnson: He also mentions plug-in electric vehicles. Converting transport to electricity, if that electricity is carbon-neutral and being distributed nationally anyway, is a logical move.

    Kenlevenson: “To those who argue that we do not yet have the technology to accomplish these results with renewable energy: I ask them to come with me to meet the entrepreneurs who will drive this revolution. I’ve seen what they are doing and I have no doubt that we can meet this challenge.”

    Reminds me of this. I’m not sure who said it (I think it was referring to a hydrogen infrastructure, but it captures Gore’s spirit too).
    “Those who think it can’t be done shouldn’t interrupt those doing it.”

  10. Jim O'Rourke says:

    For Chris Johnson: The big problem with the transportation sector is that it is almost completely dependent on liquid fuels ie: oil and its derivatives. When you look at Solar, Wind, Geothermal and the like – they really are only good right now for producing electricity. Thats why the electric car will be so vitally important to maintaining our way of life in the USA, at least in the short term. We could use the electricity from wind and solar to strip hydrogen from water in a non-carbon producing way and this is the only possible beneficial use of hydrogen and fuel cells: it is not an “energy source” per se but rather a medium to transport clean energy.

    On Gore: Hurrah for him and T-Bone Pickens for using thier national stature to say what many of us have been saying for at least the last year: we have three huge problems, PEAK OIL and its economic consequences the most immediate, Global Warming fast on its heels with much more profound, long lasting and dangerous consequences, and Global Insecurity/Unending War in the Middle East. All three share the same cause – fossil fuel economy, and the same solution: conversion to a clean energy economy.

    We don’t have much time. Recent reports say gas may be $7.00 a gallon in 2010, my sense it could be worse, and, of course the northern polar cap may melt out this year or next. Its important for all of us to spread the word and join in Gore’s call for a new Apollo Project and Ten Years is a goal we need to understand is very important.

  11. Jeff Green says:

    Christopher Johnson wrote: (Anybody know why Gore used the term “electricity” instead of “energy” when he laid out the goal? Didn’t he just leave out the transportation sector? Was he only speaking of buildings and industry in ten year’s time? Someone correct me if I’m wrong.)

    Plug in hybrid cars and geothermal heating. If the electric utility is carbon free, there are energy efficient ways to utilize it.

  12. Earl Killian says:

    Jim O’Rourke said, “We could use the electricity from wind and solar to strip hydrogen from water in a non-carbon producing way and this is the only possible beneficial use of hydrogen and fuel cells: it is not an “energy source” per se but rather a medium to transport clean energy.

    Unfortunately this wastes half to three-quarters of the wind or solar electricity, compared to sending the electricity over the grid and charging batteries. That means it takes 2 to 4 times as many wind turbines and mirrors in the desert to power our vehicles. This is a real waste.

  13. Jim O'Rourke says:

    Earl: Thanks, I didn’t know that. I wasn’t advocating hydrogen though, just explaining the only way I know of to turn renewables into a liquid fuel suitable for transportation. I also should have mentioned that solar and geo are very useful in producing heat.

    I’m ready to install my solar hot water system on my home in CT (with a 6 year payback) and a 7KW Solar PV system with no upfront cost to me and a locked in 15 year cost of 19cents/kwh thanks to a new pv leasing program we have here. Once I get that all on my roof I’ll be in good shape to ride out the energy crisis and my friends will all have Carbon-Envy.

  14. Thanks for the feedback. I already understand that the transportation sector needs to move to electricity and plug-ins are a move in that direction. And thus, can be included in Gore’s goal.

    My point was that his stated goal is being MISSTATED everywhere in the media today. I’m the biggest Gore fan around but his speech purposefully conflated the issues of oil use and his stated goal (replacing current carbon sourced electricity) that had almost nothing to do with oil!

    The media are quoting him as saying “get off of ALL carbon ENERGY in 10 years” and he said no such thing.

  15. Dennis says:

    It should be no surprise that Gore is being misquoted. It is standard practice is to put words in his mouth and proceed to criticize them. Even when you point out the correct information, the response will be: “well, then why didn’t he talk about transportation? What’s wrong with him??”

  16. I think this was an historic speech. The point not only about energy, and climate, but to connect these issues to mainstream social issues – a connection many Americans have yet to make.

    http://tinyurl.com/5ng2oc

  17. Dano says:

    My point was that his stated goal is being MISSTATED everywhere in the media today.

    Gore Derangement Syndrome.

    Next mediuh headline: Algore is fat!

    Best,

    D

  18. paulm says:

    Just heard lou dobbs on cnn slagging Gore off for not including off shore drilling and saying he is not supporting the US middle class!

    Wow. Can u imagine if he had voiced his support for this great initiative.

    I predict that guy is going to change his mind about all this this year when some of his family gets mixed up with an extreme weather event! Like Joe did….

  19. I saw Lou too. Its weird for a few reasons:

    1.) offshore drilling was merely a footnote of the speech and Gore didn’t even say he was 100% against it in all cases. He just said it wasn’t going to help our current energy crisis.

    2.) Lou had James Hansen of NASA on before and promoted him

    3.) Gore’s plan to reduce income taxes on individuals DOES support the middle class

  20. Brooks B. says:

    For coverage of a very broad array of possible solutions to our energy needs read “Earth: The Sequel”. Virtually all the entrepreneurs, scientists and engineers interviewed were for carbon cap to level playing field and “harness greed”. By Fred Krupp, President of Environmental Defense Fund and Miriam Horn. It makes Gore’s “10 years” seem possible given some inspired leadership.

  21. Earl Killian says:

    One of Mark Jacobson’s papers includes the line, “the U.S. could theoretically replace all 2007 onroad vehicles with BEVs powered by 73,,000-144,000 5-MW wind turbines, less than the 300,000 airplanes the U.S. produced during World War II”. And WW II wasn’t even 10 years.

  22. Sean O says:

    It seems that Mr. Gore has changed his marketing message. While he still makes multiple claims that are a little hard to substantiate, he doesn’t seem to be making the wild claims he did in An Inconvenient Truth (see http://globalwarming-factorfiction.com/2007/10/26/35-inconvenient-truths-the-errors-in-al-gores-movie-part-1-of-5/)

    Now, Mr. Gore is taking the energy independence tactic. This is much more realistic and more people are likely to make “sacrifices” for the sake of energy independence if we state that we have to break away from the Mideast and destroy their power over us. He seems to put a lot of his reliance on solar energy though and we should probably include nuclear and hydrogen in that discussion.

  23. civil behavior says:

    You are all going to have to excuse me but why is it that sitting here in Southern Florida with jobs non existent, home market a mess, gas and food prices skyrocketing that I don’t feel too optomistic that there will be a rush by the people to help in getting the climate under control using any version of clean alternatives?

    Last night I went to a local sponsored event by a hotel that has recently been LEED certified for its contribution for going green and I was the only one who showed up on my bike in pearls. All the rest were having their Mercedes valet parked while the engines ran and ran. There was one other person besides myself who had any information in their hands. The rest were there to drink free, eat free and network for themselves.

    Do I sound bitter?

  24. John Hollenberg says:

    The claims weren’t wild. As a matter of fact the science in the movie was found by a judge in Britain to be on the whole well-substantiated, with the exception of 9 “errors” (listed in quotes by the judge, as they were areas that needed further discussion/clarifiaction by teachers showing the movie).

    “The judge, Justice Burton found that “Al Gore’s presentation of the causes and likely effects of climate change in the film was broadly accurate”. See this analysis by RealClimate.org which debunks this garbage:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/10/convenient-untruths/langswitch_lang/de#more-483

  25. Someone had to say what Al Gore is saying; someone has to be intellectually honest and willing to speak out and clearly as Al Gore is doing.

    Emergent and convergent global challenges, ominously looming before the family of humanity on the far horizon, threaten the future of human civilizations, life as know it and the efficacy of Earth as a fit place for human habitation:

    the human overpopulation of Earth;

    the pending loss of adequate fossil fuel reserves and other vital energy sources due to unrestrained international plundering;

    the dissipation of limited resources due to reckless per-capita overconsumption;

    the problems of global warming in particular and climate change more generally; and

    the insufficiently bridled pollution of air, land and water as well as precipitating irreversible degradation of the planet’s frangible ecosystems services due to relentless industrialization and unregulated economic globalization.

    Who knows, perhaps necessary change is in the offing.

    Steven Earl Salmony
    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
    established 2001
    http://sustainabilitysoutheast.org/index.php

  26. Fortunately we have all the technology to do this. During the 10 years an accelerated program of rolling out.. THIS IS COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE TODAY

    Before I go into it — on Transport — compared to the electricity sector everything is fiscally positive. You spend money on

    #1 an 80% modal shift to fixed RAIL (TramTainLRV as one network) and move freight there too.) drive train uses 40x less energy per passenger mile

    #2 Remaining 20% on Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle
    You only increase electricity demand on a standard western grid from 10-20% Drive train uses about 7-10x less energy per passenger mile

    Anyway here are the technologies to get us over the line. They are all commercially available now.. NO false hope “hydrogen” “Clean Coal” “Fusion” “Compressed Air Cars” or other time wasting pursuits that will result in failure.

    1. Concentrating Solar Thermal Plants
    - Distributed Power Towers using stirling or rankine cycle turbines with salt storage (Heliostat mirros pointing on tower)
    -Distributed Power towers using Concentrating Solar Photovoltaic Spectrolab 40% today (theoretical to 60%) triple junction solar cells
    -Distributed Power towers using Concentrating Solar Photovolatic Spectrolab 40% AND a light splitter a couple of metres in front of the aperture taking away the heat for running a second cycle.
    -Distributed power tower technology with graphite block on top that directly takes solar insolation then recalling heat when required by pumping water through.

    -Dish Concentrating PV
    -Dish Concentrating solar with Stirling engine
    -Dish concentration solar with highest temp steam in CSP and rankine
    -Dish Concentrating solar with ammonia thermochemical dissasociation (Endothermic/exothermic reactor 97% efficient battery)

    -Compact Linear Fresnel arrays

    - Parabolic Trough Arrays

    - Special coatings on all of the above so cleaning is not required, so less reflectivity occurs etc.

    - Super insulation of houses
    -Using Heat Pumps to heat instead of Gas/Electric
    -Using passive solar design on all new houses
    -retrofitting passive solar design features to existing housing stock
    -Using Real time instantaneous heat pump hot water services (Such as “eco cute” hitachi and matsushita models in Japan) for boosting solar hot water
    -No more gas end use, slowly end the use at open cycle power plants as energy security backup as you are rolling out renewables

    - using direct solar heat for industrial steam which is the main use of end use gas and electricity in the industrial sector
    - commercial buildings with air locks retrofit gas and electric hot water services.

    -absorber chillers.

    -massive Rail infrastructure and an 80% modal shift to rail (tram and trains as one shared mode) in the cities, Freight by rail frieght by light rail “cargo trams” refrigerated containers on board freight running from 25kv AC overhead line instead of onboard generators etc.

    -modal shift 20% of city transportation to plug -in hybrid electric vehicles
    -last mile trucking for getting final delivery of some freight.. electrified.
    **Rail beats busses cause of 25kv overhead lines and less rolling resistance, 100 year lifespan of rail versus 14year for bitumen road

    –Wind Power – Spain installed 3500MW of wind last year — will install 4300MW this year — just tool the factories up and make the turbines. Use the concentrating solar thermal tech above to provide the supply security to deliver a hybrid wind/solar baseload solution

    –Plug in hybrids and other loads can be scheduled using smart meters controlled by the grid operator for cheaper tariff

    –Close the loop on recycling so upto 100% of materials in to goods are the inputs for new products at the end of their lifecycle. Plastics that can’t be recycled aren’t licensed to be sold for instance.

    –residual high density liquid fuels for range extending some PHEV trips and some rural /country last mile freight from Algal Biodiesel / Methanol
    Use Algae feedstock – 40x the energy per unit of land versus ethanol/corn

    The list goes on. Commercially available off the shelf now

  27. jorleh says:

    Remember the potential energy of the Greenland and Antarctic ice masses: energy for all the world for a thousand years: mgh. And fresh water for all the world for ten thousand years. No more sea level rising, no more climate catastrophe.

    You are right: the solution for our climate crisis is very, very simple.

  28. Patrice Ayme says:

    TALK IS CHEAP, ENERGY SHOULD BE EXPENSIVE.

    Frank Rich views Obama as “Acting President” (NYT, July 27): “… America, our allies and most likely the next Congress are moving toward Mr. Obama’s post-Iraq vision of the future, whether he reaches the White House or not.”

    As far as moving towards a different future we can finally believe in, there is only one way: to modify the profligate behavior of US citizens. How would that be achieved? By reducing the USA’s psychological and organizational dependency on wasting energy and frantic consumption. How to do this in turn? Some seem inclined to make incantations (we should do this, we ought to do that, within 10 years … yes, how exactly?)

    Whereas the USA swam in oil since the nineteenth century, it is not so in most of the rest of the world. The USA was long the world number one producer of oil. An example: Texaco, an oil company from Texas, provided Hitler with oil to allow the Luftwaffe to fly Franco’s fascist army to Spain.

    In Europe the energy situation was long difficult: Germany, France, Spain, Italy and their satellites (nearly 300 million people) have no oil. So they had to reduce their consumption as much as possible (Hitler’s made oil out of coal in W.W.II, but ultimately the Nazi army ran out of fuel). The way they did that was by very high taxes. The policy was so intelligent that it was followed by countries (such as Norway or Great Britain) that had a lot of oil.

    There are 27 countries in the European Union, with half a billion citizens. It’s not exactly a backwaters.

    Another strategy was to put taxes on non necessary consumption, according to the Added Value scheme (it allows to achieve higher rates than a sale tax, without cheating, and decreasing waste).

    France reacted to the recent oil crisis by planing to rise further its high taxes on energy. Cars emitting more than 250 grams of CO2 per kilometer will be heavily taxed even more than they already are (the US average is 330 gms/km).

    Of course, France is fanatical about the ecology and energy waste. Per inhabitant France emits less than one third of the CO2 than the USA does. france has been reacting to the oil crisis in all ways. EDF, the huge electric utility, is
    building, in England and France, sea current power plants. Another way is drill, drill, drill. France has a little bit of oil, in the south west and the Paris area (1% of needs). Interestingly absolutely no one has been protesting.

    The US left has been spastically opposed to drilling (although some of the drilling, like in the Destiny dome, is for natural gaz, CH4, which is mostly hydrogen, that is, clean). Thus one is led to an interesting alternative: either the US democrats are more ecological and anti business and anti oil than the French left, or they are FAKING IT. You decide.

    Al Gore said on July 17, 2008: “Today I challenge our nation to commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within10 years.”

    Challenges are amusing, but where is the money? Besides, France has been producing 95% of her “electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources” for more than ten years, but no one in France is suggesting that the situation is good.

    Patrice Ayme
    http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/

  29. battery says:

    Last night I went to a local sponsored event by a hotel that has recently been LEED certified for its contribution for going green and I was the only one who showed up on my bike in pearls. All the rest were having their Mercedes valet parked while the engines ran and ran. There was one other person besides myself who had any information in their hands. The rest were there to drink free, eat free and network for themselves.

  30. I’m the biggest Gore fan around but his speech purposefully conflated the issues of oil use and his stated goal (replacing current carbon sourced electricity) that had almost nothing to do with oil!

  31. club penguin says:

    Emergent and convergent global challenges, ominously looming before the family of humanity on the far horizon, threaten the future of human civilizations, life as know it and the efficacy of Earth as a fit place for human habitation:

  32. Gore is able to give such eye opening speeches. The evidence is outstanding. I live in Southern California and was simply getting use to ash falling from the skies. These wildfires are just a warning of what is yet to come.

  33. Last night I went to a local sponsored event by a hotel that has recently been LEED certified for its contribution for going green and I was the only one who showed up on my bike in pearls. All the rest were having their Mercedes valet parked while the engines ran and ran. There was one other person besides myself who had any information in their hands. The rest were there to drink free, eat free and network for themselves.

  34. I think this was an historic speech. The point not only about energy, and climate, but to connect these issues to mainstream social issues – a connection many Americans have yet to make.

  35. memory power says:

    it is very important for us all to avoid the climatic disaster.If we do not act soon, i am sure there will be more bad news waiting for us regarding the environment.