August 20, 2009
Quote of the Day, 3/9/09
"We live in a world of growing demand for energy as billions of people are rising out of poverty. As that demand for energy grows, it will require new energy production capacity. Today, that new capacity generally consists of coal-fired power plants with the same high carbon dioxide emissions as our current energy infrastructure. Just a couple of weeks ago, India announced that it is building a new 4 GW coal-burning power plant complex. These plants will emit more than 23 million tons of CO2 a year. The justification? That the need to bring electricity to one of the world's poorest regions is more pressing than the need to limit carbon dioxide from burning fuel, and this is the least expensive way to do it. It is difficult to argue against such a statement, when most of us here have never known a life without electricity.
As we struggle to develop alternatives to our current energy infrastructure, we must recognize that in order to achieve sustainable use of those alternatives worldwide they must become cost-competitive, so that they are the option of first resort.
To accomplish all of this, we will need both a revolution in technology and major changes in our economy. Our past technological choices are inadequate for our future. The solutions we need can only come from new technologies. And if the challenge of developing those new energy technologies, and implementing them worldwide, is immense, so too are the opportunities afforded by tackling this problem the right way. If we see our most pressing environmental problems as an opportunity to reassert U.S. leadership in science, technology, and innovation, we have the potential not only to resolve those problems, but also to revitalize our R&D enterprise and to rebuild our manufacturing base in the United States."
-- Senator Jeff Bingaman, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee, speaking at MIT in April 2008.