Cathing up: climate change

I’m doing a little catching up on some talks that I’ve archived for a while, but never watched. One of these is a TED conference talk on climate change by Al Gore. It is a phenomenal presentation, updating some of his thinking on the climate. I highly recommend watching it:

“Al Gore’s New Thinking on the Climate Crisis”

A few things in the talk got me thinking:

  • There is this ongoing political debate about whether or not top do more drilling off-shore. Trying to be an honest broker of policy alternatives, I would encourage companies to pursue a diverse set of energy sources. For instance, I would suggest applying a new set of tax deterrents for increasing the carbon parts of your energy portfolio, and tax rewards (breaks) for increasing the fraction of your energy portfolio invested in non-carbon energy. As Gore put it, a junkie looks for veins in their toes when they run out of the good ones in other places. Oil shale and tar sands, and I would argue off-shore and wildlife reserve drilling, are the veins in the foot. Encourage their use, but only at risk to the company and with financial incentive to pursue better alternatives to diversify the energy investment.
  • While Kyoto is now too late to be of much use, it’s sad – truly sad – that the U.S. is now the only country that participated in the Kyoto process and has not signed it. Yay, Australia.
  • I’m worried all the time about U.S. leadership in science. One way to regain this and secure our position as a global leader is in energy technology. I see two problems that can be solved. The U.S. can export its technological innovations on alternative sources to benefit developing nations, thus reducing the carbon burden while also providing a market for the U.S. to make money off its scientific know-how. We can at the same time become leaders in science again, and develop a leadership quality for energy morality. This would diffuse the argument that the U.S. got to develop industrially using oil, and this so should China and India. Fine. Let’s change our image, and give them something to follow.

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