Richter: Energy in Three Dimensions

"Energy Innovation 2010" keynote presentation delivered by Nobel laureate physicist Dr. Burton Richter on December 15, 2010.

(Richter's Keynote begins at 5:56 in the video below)

I have been asked by the organizers to be provocative at this discussion of energy innovation - the more provocative the better, I was told. So far, the talks have focused on the need for innovation to get the technologies of the future developed and deployed so that the issue of climate change can be effectively addressed. We all know that the country is not getting the action on the Federal front that the issue warrants, and thinking about how we might do better leads me to three questions.

    1. Have we focused so exclusively on climate change as a justification for action on energy that we have excluded potential allies?

    2. Have we emphasized ultra-green technologies that are not yet ready for the big time, and so had our desire for the perfect drive out the available good?

    3. Have we pushed policies that are so narrowly targeted as to prevent much larger and less costly emissions reductions to be made in the nearer term than have been made with the renewables?

My answer to all three questions is yes.

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