Skip to main content

Thomas Friedman on Green Technology

thomas-friedman-environmental-technologySome interesting testimony from Thomas Friedman in his appearance earlier today before the Senate committee on Environment and Public Works. The hearing was titled, "Investing in Green Technology as a Strategy for Economic Recovery."
Think about the scale. I give just one example. Nate Lewis of Cal Tech uses this number. We currently, the world currently uses about 13 terawatts, 13 trillion watts of energy. Between now and 2050 we’re going to double that to 26 terawatts, 26 trillion watts. If we want to go from 13 to 26 [terawatts] as a world, accommodate the growth of China and India, and not double the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere – which is the red line from pre-industrial period, which is the red line beyond which climate scientists believe all the climate monsters will come out of the closet—if we want to do that, we basically, we have to take 13 terawatts and get rid of them, through energy efficiency. And of the new 13 terawatts, we need to produce 80% of that from clean, non-emitting sources. If we said, let’s just do that by building nuclear plants, we would have to build one new nuclear plant every day for the next 36 years.
Sounds like investing in green technology as a strategy for economic recovery to me.

Comments

Kit P said…
The only thing you can learn from reading a NYT journalist is what their agenda is. How this qualifies one as one of “Two experts, including Thomas Friedman..” to testify on the topic before congress is beyond me.
Anonymous said…
So how many wind farms would be have to build every day to make up the 13 TW demand? How many millions of square miles would we have to cover with windmills to generate this much energy from an intermittent, unreliable source? How many more Ted Kennedys will come crawling out of the woodwork to protest against the cluttered view those would make?

If it's that tough to do with baseload nuclear units, how much more impossible will it be using chaotic, variable "green" sources like wind and solar?

Popular posts from this blog

Sneak Peek

There's an invisible force powering and propelling our way of life.
It's all around us. You can't feel it. Smell it. Or taste it.
But it's there all the same. And if you look close enough, you can see all the amazing and wondrous things it does.
It not only powers our cities and towns.
And all the high-tech things we love.
It gives us the power to invent.
To explore.
To discover.
To create advanced technologies.
This invisible force creates jobs out of thin air.
It adds billions to our economy.
It's on even when we're not.
And stays on no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.
This invisible force takes us to the outer reaches of outer space.
And to the very depths of our oceans.
It brings us together. And it makes us better.
And most importantly, it has the power to do all this in our lifetime while barely leaving a trace.
Some people might say it's kind of unbelievable.
They wonder, what is this new power that does all these extraordinary things?

A Design Team Pictures the Future of Nuclear Energy

For more than 100 years, the shape and location of human settlements has been defined in large part by energy and water. Cities grew up near natural resources like hydropower, and near water for agricultural, industrial and household use.

So what would the world look like with a new generation of small nuclear reactors that could provide abundant, clean energy for electricity, water pumping and desalination and industrial processes?

Hard to say with precision, but Third Way, the non-partisan think tank, asked the design team at the Washington, D.C. office of Gensler & Associates, an architecture and interior design firm that specializes in sustainable projects like a complex that houses the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. The talented designers saw a blooming desert and a cozy arctic village, an old urban mill re-purposed as an energy producer, a data center that integrates solar panels on its sprawling flat roofs, a naval base and a humming transit hub.

In the converted mill, high temperat…

Seeing the Light on Nuclear Energy

If you think that there is plenty of electricity, that the air is clean enough and that nuclear power is a just one among many options for meeting human needs, then you are probably over-focused on the United States or Western Europe. Even then, you’d be wrong.

That’s the idea at the heart of a new book, “Seeing the Light: The Case for Nuclear Power in the 21st Century,” by Scott L. Montgomery, a geoscientist and energy expert, and Thomas Graham Jr., a retired ambassador and arms control expert.


Billions of people live in energy poverty, they write, and even those who don’t, those who live in places where there is always an electric outlet or a light switch handy, we need to unmake the last 200 years of energy history, and move to non-carbon sources. Energy is integral to our lives but the authors cite a World Health Organization estimate that more than 6.5 million people die each year from air pollution.  In addition, they say, the global climate is heading for ruinous instability. E…