By Michael Stebbins, orginally published at Scientists & Engineers for America Action Fund

As the sweat-soaked crowd entered the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall, to hear Al Gore’s energy challenge they were greeted by a blast of air conditioning. Relief! Sweet ironic relief! DC is obscenely hot today, yet, thousands of people were lined up along the street to hear Gore issue what was promised, a truly grand challenge. They were not disappointed.

Al Gore issued the challenge of our lifetime…

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

What does he mean? solar, wind and geothermal power.

How does he envision paying for it? Carbon Taxes (along with a drop in payroll tax.) There was very little detail other than that and we can predict the rhetoric on this particular part of the challenge. It will be expensive, no question about it, but I have yet to hear a way that we will be able to deal with global warming and our dependence on foreign oil without spending some serious cash on R&D.

Gore also called for a overhaul of our energy grid and the creation of a Unified National Grid. No question. This needs to happen.

As for political will, Gore called politics the biggest barrier to change and referred to the call for more drilling as a means to lowering gas prices “perverse,” because it will take too long and increased production will never keep up with demand, thus prices are unlikely to go 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.”

The call to citizens was also clear.

“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.”

My challenge to you…if your candidate for office accepts Gore’s challenge, update the SHARP Network with it. Everyone should know where their candidates stand on this challenge, so if you find out that your congressman or candidate has either accepted Gore’s challenge or rejected it, let us know so we can spread the word.

Comments

  1. #1 Trinifar
    July 18, 2008

    I have yet to hear a way that we will be able to deal with global warming and our dependence on foreign oil without spending some serious cash on R&D.

    Good point. I’m in Gore’s camp and I want to hear a detailed plan. Lester Brown has one in Plan B 3.0. Why don’t we hear about that?

  2. #2 Thomas Jefferson
    July 23, 2008

    As one of the authors of the constitution, I can tell you that Global Warming is not as new as some of you may think.
    Imagine how we felt wearing these blasted overcoats and powdered wigs in July. It was 96 in the shade 230 years ago, too ya know.

  3. #3 Metro
    July 25, 2008

    Do you think so? I can’t be sure about that, but I know that England used to experience cold, snowy winters akin to what Canada gets.

    More recently, my old hometown, which historically used to see winter temperatures around -9 and snow, hasn’t had a flake in about ten years.

    Presumably that counts as evidence too?

  4. #4 Thomas Jefferson
    August 4, 2008

    Plenty of evidence says that weather changes in cycles.
    Data has always been interpreted to suit.
    You can believe it was hot in the 1770’s or not.
    I’m just glad we had ice cream:-)

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