Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gore Endorses Stimulus Plan

This morning, Al Gore is on Capitol Hill testifying on Global Climate Change. Among other things, Gore discussed and the United State's leadership role in the lead up to the United Nations' climate talks later on this year in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin) asked an interesting question. Paraphrased, he asked Gore whether we should hold different countries to different standards when it comes to carbon emissions. Put another way, should we hold developing countries to a looser standard than industrialized nations in limits on carbon emissions?

The issue behind the question lies in arena of envionmental standards and their effect on business development, and the arguement that some make that renewable energy is cost-prohibitive thus placing an unfair burden on poorer populations of the world.

(Nothing I've heard from or read about Senator Feingold leads me to believe he holds this position. The question, I believe, was rhetorical.)

Gore's response was enlightening. He pointed out that just as developing countries in Africa have been able to leapfrog technology in areas like telecommunications - vast areas never wired for phone service now have wireless communication networks thereby transcending an entire layer of expensive infrastructure - and can do the same thing with renewable energies.

Localized solar and wind energy systems are feasible now and do not depend on large-scale investments in traditional (heavy carbon-emitting) power plants and the infrastructure to distribute it.

Gore pointed out, rightly, that renewable energies are even more financially attractive when "dirty energy" infrastructure does not exist.

The former Vice President called for the creation of a national, unified "smart grid" to move renewable energy around the country, and proposed that just as the US led the world in the post war economy (WW2), the United States can now lead the world in the development and implementation of renewable energies.

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