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Thread: Big Boost in Energy Science Sought in Letter to Elected (and Aspiring) Leaders

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    Big Boost in Energy Science Sought in Letter to Elected (and Aspiring) Leaders

    [URL="http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12/03/big-boost-in-energy-science-sought-in-letter-to-elected-and-aspiring-leaders/index.html?hp"]http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12/03/big-boost-in-energy-science-sought-in-letter-to-elected-and-aspiring-leaders/index.html?hp[/URL]


    About three dozen experts on energy and climate, along with prominent figures in other fields, have sent a letter to all members of Congress, President Bush and the presidential candidates, proposing a roughly tenfold increase in federal spending on energy research.

    The goal, they say, is to accelerate advances in nonpolluting energy technologies to limit climate risks and security problems related to the fast-growing global demand for oil and particularly coal, the fossil fuels that produce the bulk of carbon dioxide emissions linked to global warming.
    The letter, sent Sunday, calls for at least $30 billion a year in spending to promote sustained research akin to the Apollo space program or the Manhattan Project.

    It was drafted by Martin I. Hoffert, an emeritus physics professor at New York University; Kenneth Caldeira, a Carnegie Institution scientist based at Stanford University; and John Katzenberger, director of the Aspen Global Change Institute, a private research group. Other signers include Nobel Prize winners in chemistry, economics, and medicine. The text of the letter and the names of signers are below.

    “We really need to develop a revolution, a change in the way our species creates the energy that it needs to run,” Dr. Hoffert said in an interview. “We don’t really have enough time to let the system work its way out through proposed solutions like a cap and trading system for emissions.”
    The letter is aimed at influencing Congressional debate on several energy and climate bills, Dr. Hoffert explained in a note circulated in October to drum up supporters. “It’s critical for scientists, engineers and economists with a grasp of complex environmental issues like global warming, and of potentially effective technological approaches to deal with it, to raise our voices in the policy-making process, even if we’re not agreed yet on the best specific approach,” he said. “Plenty of paid lobbyists on the Hill are spinning this problem. But who speaks for us?”

    The letter said the investment was justified because long-term research was not being done by private businesses or investors and big economic benefits would almost inevitably flow from the work.

    “Sustained public investment now in a diverse portfolio of energy technologies will reduce climate risk, increase energy security, revitalize education, enhance our competitiveness and strengthen the American economy,” the letter said.

    It said waste would be avoided by having an open review process to select and support projects based on technical merits.

    There is wide agreement among scientists that inadequate funds are going to basic research in such fields as capturing carbon dioxide from smokestacks or the atmosphere, advancing photovoltaic cells and other solar power systems, finding ways to store large amounts of electricity from intermittent sources like wind or the sun, and making nuclear power more secure.

    In e-mail messages and interviews, many other scientists said they supported the group’s push for a greatly expanded effort in basic energy research but did not sign the letter because they differed on the appropriate amount to be spent or on some aspects of how such an initiative should be carried out.

    “Whether the particular overall funding target mentioned in the letter, $30 billion per year, is the right figure needs more discussion, but certainly the right direction is sharply up,” said John P. Holdren, an expert on energy and climate at Harvard and the Woods Hole Research Center. “Current government spending on energy research, development, demonstration, and incentives for accelerated deployment is woefully inadequate in relation to the challenges and the opportunities that the energy sector presents.”
    Here’s the letter.

    Letter to Members of Congress and Presidential Candidates

    Dear ______,
    Dear Member of Congress,

    We the undersigned urge you to accelerate our transition to a clean energy economy with the ambition of an Apollo or Manhattan program, by dramatically increasing America’s investment in innovative new energy technologies and systems.

    A wide range of policies aimed at increasing conservation, efficiency, and reducing emissions is vital, but carbon prices and regulations alone will not create new, clean and affordable energy systems soon enough or at the scale needed.

    America should be ramping up to invest a minimum of $30 billion per year to develop, demonstrate, and stimulate the commercialization of a range of technologies and approaches that can provide affordable carbon-neutral energy and use that energy more wisely. This is less than half of what America already invests in military research and development.

    The United States is in a unique position to take the lead in this research and development effort, but we must work with others. The world, including China, India and other developing nations, needs affordable clean technologies now to avoid the lock-in of massive carbon emissions from conventional coal plants.

    Energy sources available today cannot provide enough power to drive economic growth without damaging our climate system. We cannot predict with confidence which energy technologies will win in a future marketplace. For this reason, we need a diverse and strategically selected portfolio of investments. Potential solutions need to be explored and tested with hardware. Because the taxpayer dollar should be invested wisely, a relatively open process should be established that will select and support research and development projects based on technical merits.

    Public investment in clean energy will more than pay for itself, just as did the U.S. government investment in computer science and aerospace during the 1950s and ‘60s. Much of our economic growth since World War II resulted from technological developments that were accelerated and incubated by public investment – the Internet being only one example. Particularly critical are technologies that can be commercialized in five to twenty-five years — too long for venture capital, too short for basic research. Private firms are not making — and cannot be expected to make – the necessary level of long-term investments in energy and energy infrastructure research and development.

    The major problems confronting the nation and world require clean, secure, and affordable energy.

    Sustained public investment now in a diverse portfolio of energy technologies will reduce climate risk, increase energy security, revitalize education, enhance our competitiveness, and strengthen the American economy.

    Sincerely*,

    [SIZE="1"]Martin Hoffert‏
    Department of Physics, New York University
    Ken Caldeira
    Carnegie Institution / Stanford University
    John Katzenberger
    Aspen Global Change Institute
    David Archer
    Department of Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago
    Maurice Averner
    Ames Research Center, NASA
    Scott Barrett
    School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University
    Gregory Benford
    Department of Physics, University of California, Irvine
    Baruch Blumberg (Nobel laureate)
    Fox Chase Cancer Center / University of Pennsylvania
    Paul Crutzen (Nobel laureate)
    University of California (San Diego) / Max Planck Institute for Chemistry
    William Fulkerson
    Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment, University of Tennessee
    Christopher Green
    Department of Economics, McGill University
    Susan Hassol
    Climate Communication
    Eric Hoffert
    Versatility Inc.
    Thomas Homer-Dixon
    Trudeau Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Toronto
    Feng Hsu
    Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA
    Mark Jacobson
    Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University
    David Keith
    Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy, University of Calgary
    Geoffrey Landis
    Glenn Research Center, NASA
    Jane C. S. Long
    hydrogeologist and geotechnical engineer
    Michael MacCracken
    Climate Institute, Washington, DC
    John C. Mankins
    Sunsat Energy Council / Managed Energy Technologies
    Michael E. Mann
    Earth System Science Center, Pennsylvania State University
    Gregg Marland
    International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
    Mark Nelson
    Institute of Ecotechnics, Santa Fe, NM
    Darel Preble
    Space Solar Power Institute, Georgia Institute of Technology
    Gregory H. Rau
    Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz
    Steve Rayner
    Said Business School, Oxford, UK
    Kim Stanley Robinson
    Author, “Forty Signs of Rain”
    Gregory Dennis Sachs
    Alternative Power Program, US Merchant Marine Academy
    Thomas Schelling (Nobel laureate)
    Department of Economics, University of Maryland
    Michael Schlesinger
    Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    Steven E. Schwartz
    Brookhaven National Laboratory, Department of Energy
    John Turner
    National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Department of Energy
    Tyler Volk
    Department of Biology, New York University
    Tom M. L. Wigley
    National Center for Atmospheric Research
    Steven C. Wofsy
    School of Engineering and Applied Science / Department of Earth and Planetary Science, Harvard University
    Lowell Wood
    Hoover Institution / Stanford University
    (*Organizations listed for identification purposes only)[/SIZE]

  2. #2
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    I've been saying that for 10+ years except for even more funding...


    but it's a start! :)



    if only they would ignore the lobbyists and people who donate all that campaign cash and do what's right for the US instead of what's right for the lobbyists and the corporations that they represent!



    thanks for sharing!

  3. #3
    [QUOTE=Tanginius;2244012]I've been saying that for 10+ years except for even more funding...


    but it's a start! :)



    if only they would ignore the lobbyists and people who donate all that campaign cash and do what's right for the US instead of what's right for the lobbyists and the corporations that they represent!



    thanks for sharing![/QUOTE]

    What do you mean T? The War in Iraq is what is right for America. "Kill em all".

    "Let's wipe them off the map". That is more important than having a future generation of engineers and innnovators.

    Morons

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    There is an incredibly efficient and clean energy source available. It's called nuclear energy. We can't use it due to the loony left.

    There's enough oil in Anwar to virtually eliminate our dependence on foreign oil for decades. We can't drill it due to the loony left.

    We haven't even scratched the surface of the available coal in this country, and there have been incredible advances in reducing the emissions of using coal as an energy source. We can't mine it due to the loony left.

    We could use wind farms, but just not anywhere that it might interfere with the boating habits or horizon-gazing of Ted Kennedy, Bloatus Emeritus of the loony left.

    Fvck it, let's blame the Republicans.

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    [QUOTE=shakin318;2245470]There is an incredibly efficient and clean energy source available. It's called nuclear energy. We can't use it due to the loony left.[/QUOTE]

    I wish we would utilize nuclear power more.

    But I don't know if I would characterize it as "clean", if it's byproduct can melt your face off...:P

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    [QUOTE=shakin318;2245470]There is an incredibly efficient and clean energy source available. It's called nuclear energy. We can't use it due to the loony left.

    There's enough oil in Anwar to virtually eliminate our dependence on foreign oil for decades. We can't drill it due to the loony left.

    We haven't even scratched the surface of the available coal in this country, and there have been incredible advances in reducing the emissions of using coal as an energy source. We can't mine it due to the loony left.

    We could use wind farms, but just not anywhere that it might interfere with the boating habits or horizon-gazing of Ted Kennedy, Bloatus Emeritus of the loony left.

    Fvck it, let's blame the Republicans.[/QUOTE]

    Shakin...

    1- Since when is the left the ONLY one against nuclear power? What republicans are pushing for it? Three-Mile Island and Chernobyl changed the dialogue in this country and it's something everyone needs to get over.

    2- Opening up the Artic National Wildlife Reserve for more oil may be your answer but many people, not just Democrats, see the environmental impact on the area as too much to bear, especially when oil is not the answer. We'll just have to agree to disargee on that one. Oh and you can't drill in ANWR because of federal legislation which was passed by Congress...not because of the "loony left."

    3- Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) certainly doesn't fight anything coal related so please don't generalize. The idea of razing an entire mountain range to get to the coal inside is to many people too destructive a process for whatever benefits it would present.

    4- Right... wind farms were single-handedly defeated by Teddy Kennedy. Alright dude.

    5- In the posts that I have read the blame has fallen on both Congress and the Executive brance, as well as the lobbyists they ALL listen to. But to even pretend that the Bush Administration has done ANYTHING regarding alternative energy policy would be truly silly.

    If you could please explain any legislation that Republicans or the President has set forth in the two terms he has had.

    I could give you one.... in 2003 Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) proposed the CLEAR Act which at the time offered tremendous incentives to both cities, states and individuals for purchasing and operating hybrid or other alternative fuel vehicles. It never got out of the Republican Senate and most federal tax incentives have now expired.
    Last edited by bigalbarracuda; 12-04-2007 at 10:52 AM.

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    [QUOTE=shakin318;2245470]There is an incredibly efficient and clean energy source available. It's called nuclear energy. We can't use it due to the loony left.

    There's enough oil in Anwar to virtually eliminate our dependence on foreign oil for decades. We can't drill it due to the loony left.

    We haven't even scratched the surface of the available coal in this country, and there have been incredible advances in reducing the emissions of using coal as an energy source. We can't mine it due to the loony left.

    We could use wind farms, but just not anywhere that it might interfere with the boating habits or horizon-gazing of Ted Kennedy, Bloatus Emeritus of the loony left.

    Fvck it, let's blame the Republicans.[/QUOTE]


    #1 drop the name calling... what is it with you people on the right?!? (FlushingJet, CBTNY, HDCentOH, you, etc)

    This lefty is pro-nuclear, as are many other lefties... although clearly not the majority



    You clearly know absolutely NOTHING about ANWAR. Today, the US imports about 60% of it's oil, a figure that rises everyday and each year. See here:

    [url]https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/print/us.html[/url]

    Oil - production: 7.61 million bbl/day (2005 est.)
    Oil - consumption: 20.73 million bbl/day (2004 est.)
    Oil - exports: 1.048 million bbl/day (2004)
    Oil - imports: 13.15 million bbl/day (2004)

    I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and we'll say ANWAR has the largest estimate of it's oil reserves, so just over 10 Billion barrels worth. Of which it could produce 1.5 million barrels (I am over-estimating and helping your cause) a day.

    How the hell can you claim that ANWAR can "virtually eliminate our dependence on foreign oil for decades" when it would barely dent it (about 10% reduction in dependence on importation of oil, most of which comes from Canada anyways!).

    [url]http://www.doi.gov/news/030312.htm[/url]

    And I'm not even getting into the fact that it wouldn't be producing 1.5 million barrels a day for 5-10 years, and then it would peak in 20 years and start declining again!!! So it wouldn't be doing the 10% reduction except for a few years, and most of the years it would barely cause a 5% reduction in our dependence on foreign oil!!!


    Coal is NOT an alternate energy source. It is a carbon based energy source. I agree there have been major advances, however it's better to call it "cleaner coal" than "clean coal", as you are just shifting the pollution (emissions/waste) from going into the air into being captured and then having to be stored in some way. Currently there are no "cleaner coal" commercial-scale power plants in the US and it probably won't be until 2020-2025 until there is one with full carbon capture and sequestration. Then there is the fact that there are no coal powered cars/trucks, nor plans to make any that I am aware of...


    Wind farms are great and are being used, and built. They do not currently account for more than 10% of power in most cases due to the intermitency of wind in most places. Denmark gets 20% of it's power from wind, but they have a steady wind where most of the turbines are located out of sea. And Ted Kennedy's NIMBY approach to the one wind farm off of Nantucket, while lame, isn't keeping us from using wind power all over the US now is it? I am 100% against Ted Kennedy in this instance and agree with you on his stance and reasoning...


    And yes, let's blame Republicans for our lack of development into ALTERNATE ENERGY sources. But let's blame the Democrats as well. And lets stop the estimated 20-55 billion in subsidies we give to oil companies which have been making ridiculous profits like ExxonMobil's record 40 billion dollar yearly profit recently. The 7 billion reduction in subsidies that the new Democratic house passed in January was a start... but to be subsidizing these companies which are turning enormous profits makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE!
    Last edited by King Ryan; 12-04-2007 at 11:16 AM.

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    [QUOTE=bigalbarracuda;2245565]Shakin...

    1- Since when is the left the ONLY one against nuclear power? What republicans are pushing for it? Three-Mile Island and Chernobyl changed the dialogue in this country and it's something everyone needs to get over.

    2- Opening up the Artic National Wildlife Reserve for more oil may be your answer but many people, not just Democrats, see the environmental impact on the area as too much to bear, especially when oil is not the answer. We'll just have to agree to disargee on that one. Oh and you can't drill in ANWR because of federal legislation which was passed by Congress...not because of the "loony left."

    3- Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) certainly doesn't fight anything coal related so please don't generalize. The idea of razing an entire mountain range to get to the coal inside is to many people too destructive a process for whatever benefits it would present.

    4- Right... wind farms were single-handedly defeated by Teddy Kennedy. Alright dude.

    5- In the posts that I have read the blame has fallen on both Congress and the Executive brance, as well as the lobbyists they ALL listen to. But to even pretend that the Bush Administration has done ANYTHING regarding alternative energy policy would be truly silly.

    If you could please explain any legislation that Republicans or the President has set forth in the two terms he has had.

    I could give you one.... in 2003 Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) proposed the CLEAR Act which at the time offered tremendous incentives to both cities, states and individuals for purchasing and operating hybrid or other alternative fuel vehicles. It never got out of the Republican Senate and most federal tax incentives have now expired.[/QUOTE]

    No nuance -- only sweeping generalities allowed here. Aren't you familiar with the rules yet?

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    [QUOTE=shakin318;2245470]Fvck it, let's blame the Republicans.[/QUOTE]

    Blaming the Republicans is idiotic. The vast majority of politicians in Washington are in the back pockets of oil lobbies. This is not a partisan issue, it's a policy issue.

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    [QUOTE=Tanginius;2245629]#1 drop the name calling... what is it with you people on the right?!? (FlushingJet, CBTNY, HDCentOH, you, etc)

    This lefty is pro-nuclear, as are many other lefties... although clearly not the majority
    [/QUOTE]
    When you nutty lefties continue to cry about the "stolen" 2000 election, you deserve whatever names are thrown your way. ;)

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