Thursday, July 17, 2008

Gore: the 100% solution

First, it was T. Boone Pickens. Now, Al Gore has thrown down the gauntlet and urged the US to convert to 100% electricity production from renewable sources over the next 10 years.

This is extremely ambitious. It's more likely we could get to 50% renewables, or maybe even just a third, over the next ten years. But it's clear if we don't start now, we never will; and the mainline oil and coal industries are paying millions in ads to make sure the world never does.

It's not that hard to find places where there is sustained winds. It's not just in the Great Plains; it's also in the areas where they mine for coal, usually in mountains. Where there are mountains, there are usually winds -- heavy winds. Anyone who's driven through the Appalachians knows what I'm talking about. And the sun -- why aren't we using it more? It's now possible to store the heat from the sun (creating steam) and use that to keep generators going on cloudy days.

Still, Gore may have the weight of leaders who've had enough of the old ways, behind him. If he can put together a motley collection of people like Newt Gingrich and Nancy Pelosi, Pat Robertson and Al Sharpton, and if enough people from both sides of the aisle make this a moral challenge -- that the money going overseas to build the skylines of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and other sheikhdoms should instead go to powering the homeland then both the environmental challenge as well as the national security challenge can both be resolved.

No question, Gore is advocating tough choices ... but who said anything was ever easy?

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