Friday, January 2, 2009

Climatologist Hansen makes personal appeal to President-elect Obama

It will be interesting to see the path that President Obama will take in dealing with climate change.

He's getting advice from all corners; everyone has their favorite strategies for reducing carbon emissions and fossil-fuel use: Al Gore (solar power, wind power and geothermal energy), Lester Brown of the Worldwatch Institute (a renewables strategy dominated by wind), even T. Boone Pickens the oil man, whose plan revolves around mainly wind energy and domestic natural gas.

Now the climate scientist James Hansen has written a personal letter to Obama with his own plan for mitigating global warming. His plan involves phasing out coal-fired power stations; implementing a carbon tax (he views cap-and-trade systems, such as this one in the U.S. northeast, as "ineffectual"); and developing fourth-generation nuclear power.

My own preference for the U.S. is to fully exploit the potential for concentrated solar electric utilities in the sunny Southwest; keep building wind farms apace in the Midwestern wind corridor and off-shore; upgrade electric utilities to be able to efficiently distribute this electricity, and greatly expand the use of solar module arrays and geothermal energy by individual buildings and homes. What's yours?

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