“The U.S. innovation machine is the greatest in the world,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu as he spoke at Stanford on March 7. He outlined the potential for breakthroughs in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and in batteries. He outlined a new Industrial Revolution as he presented solutions for the latest climate risks.
President Barack Obama called for a clean energy future in his speech today at MIT. America has long been the innovation global leader thanks to great universities and research institutions. He called on the students and researchers to help harness more energy from “the wind, the waves, and the sun.” Obama called for the passage of the Senate Climate Bill (Boxer-Kerry) which would accelerate clean transportation, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and start grid innovation and jobs.
I interviewed my former chemistry professor, Dr. Rowland, to understand the difficult process of scientific discovery, industry opposition, global treaties, and winning the Nobel Prize. His work lead to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was signed into agreement by 24 major countries of the world, including the United States. The process gives hope for an agreement in Copenhagen this December.
At the Society of Environmental Journalists Conference I asked Vice President Al Gore about energy innovation. He answered with a surprisingly optimistic discussion of energy efficiency; renewable energy innovation in wind, solar, enhanced geothermal, and use of waste heat; and a transformative super grid. He also had some predictions for the Copenhagen Climate Summit.
A new science report representing a consensus of 13 U.S. agencies details impacts such as: heat waves will become more frequent and intense, increasing threats to human health and quality of life, especially in cities; warming will decrease demand for heating energy in winter and increase demand for cooling energy in summer that will increase peak electricity demand in most regions; water resources will be stressed in many regions.