Wednesday, January 07, 2009

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.


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?