Maybe you didn’t see that coming. Well, Amory Lovins, among others, saw it coming. I heard him speak at a conference in New York City in the fall of 2009 and he said then: “The Renewable Revolution has been won. Sorry, if you missed it.”
The premise of my book from way back when (2012) was that, stipulating that we were then (and are now) in a climate crisis, there were nevertheless heroic efforts underway to bring us back to some degree of climate health. I wrote then: “Some of my students and others have asked me over the last several years if we are addressing the climate crisis in time and with sufficient force and focus to avoid a planetary catastrophe. I tell them I don’t know. What I do know, however, is that we are forging new tools for much more sustainable, much cleaner and smarter ways to live. We have been realizing progress in areas like renewable energy that even ten years ago people in the field would have told you was not possible by now. We have a long way to go, but what we are seeing happen is incontrovertible evidence that there is a path to sustainability, that we can, in the words of the environmental prophet Barry Commoner, make peace with the planet.” Continue reading →
I wrote the other day about some of the manifest benefits of natural gas in our economies. There are also, without question, many negatives. Let me count the ways here. I also, however, want to note that there are ways to capitalize on gas in our transition to fully decarbonized energy economies. I’ll do that in a third post. Continue reading →
I was discussing renewables with my class the other day and recounted an event I moderated a few years back in which one of the panelists, Minoru Takada, observed that there was much to celebrate on the renewable energy front, very much including the fact that policy makers, both in governments and the private sector, and general publics around the world, have been steadily gaining confidence in our ability to transition away from fossil fuels. I think we can all draw a great deal of hope as energy economies around the world continue to build confidence in this critical transition in which we are engaged. Continue reading →
The Great Transition is the title of the preeminent sustainability theorist and activist Lester Brown’s last book. The Energiewende – energy transition – is what the Germans call their brilliant initiative to reshape the energy economy. Call it a transition, revolution, mobilization or transformation, or what you will. Call it clean tech, green tech, the green economy, sustainable development, or even the Low Carbon and Environmental Goods and Services Sector (LCEGSS). Whatever you want to call it and however you slice it, we are in the midst of a series of remarkable breakthroughs. Continue reading →
I just wanted to flag the fact that I led a group of grad students to Berlin at the end of May and we had a fabulous six-day series of tours and briefings. I’ll be writing with a bit of depth about the trip here soon, but in the meantime, you can see my post at our NYU Center for Global Affairs blog, The Global Citizen.
I had the distinct pleasure this past Tuesday of moderating a panel of top experts on clean tech and the state of its global development: Clean Energy For All was a part of the “Fueling Our Future” series at NYU’s Center for Global Affairs where I teach. Our guests were Travis Bradford, from SIPA and the Prometheus Institute; Vignesh Gowrishankar, from NRDC; and Minoru Takada from the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative. CGA’s Dean, Vera Jelinek, welcomed our guests and the full house of audience members. Continue reading →
…to know which way the wind blows. It’s blowing against the reactionary forces spearheaded by the relatively unsung member of the Koch family, Bill. Although not in the same league as his two protofascist brothers, Bill nevertheless gets high marks for doing what he can to undermine both democracy and a sane approach to energy in his obdurate opposition to a superb renewable energy initiative, Cape Wind. The list of supporters for this project is, however, long and prestigious. Continue reading →