Each of us can make a difference if we step up and try our best / Becoming Planet Citizens
A Day with Al Gore
“An Inconvenient Sequel,” which played at the Sundance Film Festival in January, opened yesterday (July 28) to promisingly huge numbers... The film takes on a radical urgency that even Al Gore probably didn’t plan on. In a way that neither Gore nor the film’s co-directors, Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk, could have anticipated, “An Inconvenient Sequel” makes the case for climate change as a fundamental political/economic/moral issue of the 21st century in a way that shoves it right through the teeth of Donald Trump’s destructive ignorance.
“An Inconvenient Sequel” offers a great many ominous signs and warnings, but there is one change, right at the center of the film’s meticulous reporting, that’s suffused with optimism, and it is this: The development of wind and solar energy is now an unstoppable economic locomotive (forgive the dirty-energy metaphor). You can generally count on money to speak more loudly than liberal sanctimony, and the banner-headline news of “An Inconvenient Sequel” is that the economics of climate change now favor a proper response to climate change. The film syncs right up to recent reports about how U.S. state governments, in the wake of Trump’s bludgeoning indifference to any opinion on environmental policy that couldn’t have come from a fossil-fuel executive, are now taking the lead in shaping policy. They’re doing what makes sense — to save the planet, and to build industries that have a future.
What’s become more and more clear about Donald Trump is that despite his background as a real-estate tycoon, as president he doesn’t know how to build anything. He only knows how to wreck things. He will wreck whatever you give him: health care, the environment, decades-old global alliances, his own presidency. Saving the future — that is, saving the world for a time when Donald Trump will no longer be around — isn’t in his vocabulary. How do you fight a toxic narcissist so enthralled by toxicity that he literally prefers poisoning the environment to nurturing it? You fight him with a movie like “An Inconvenient Sequel,” which updates the meaning of climate change — why it’s happening, what it looks like, what it portends, why we can and will triumph over it — in a way that might have been designed to answer Donald Trump. It’s part of Trump’s karma that his presidency will now radically up the profile of a movie that preaches the gospel according to Al Gore. “An Inconvenient Truth” marked the moment when the climate-change issue acquired a critical mainstream mass. “An Inconvenient Sequel” may mark the moment when it finally stopped being inconvenient.
Those of us who are privileged to be alive in these early decades of the 21st century are called upon to make decisions of great consequence. Indeed, it is not an overstatement to say that the entire future of humanity depends upon whether or not we rise to the challenge before us.
The climate crisis is the most serious and threatening manifestation of an underlying collision between human civilization as it is presently organized and the ecological system of the Earth -- upon which the fortunes and future prospects of our civilization, and our species, depend...
(T)he impact we have on the natural systems of the Earth is magnified enormously by the awesome power of the technologies that have become available to us since the Industrial and Scientific Revolutions. In particular, any decision to continue relying on dirty and polluting carbon fuels threatens to massively disrupt the climate conditions that have given rise to the flourishing of civilization and have supported the rich and diverse web of life that is integral to our survival. Global warming is the most threatening part of our ecological crisis because the thin shell of atmosphere surrounding our planet is the most vulnerable part of the Earth's system...
I vividly remember when I was 13 years old, hearing President John F. Kennedy commit the United States to the inspiring goal of putting a man on the moon within 10 years. And I remember how many of my elders in 1961 felt that goal was unrealistic and perhaps even impossible. But eight years and two months later, Neil Armstrong put his foot on the surface of the moon. Two seconds later, when the news of that history-making step reached NASA's mission control center in Houston, Texas, a great cheer went up -- and the average age of the systems engineers cheering in that room was 26 -- which means that when they heard President Kennedy's challenge, they were 18 years old.
They changed their lives to gain the skills to match their inspiration and become a part of history. And many of today's 18-year-olds are doing the same. Many years from now, when they reach the age of their parents today, they will inherit the Earth we bequeath to them. And depending on the circumstances in which they find themselves, they will ask one of two questions.
If they live in a world of stronger storms, worsening floods, deeper droughts, mega-fires, tropical diseases spreading throughout vulnerable populations in all parts of the Earth, melting ice caps flooding coastal cities, unsurvivable heat extremes in the tropics and subtropics, hundreds of millions of climate refugees generating political disruptions and threatening the collapse of governance -- if they face these horrors and the others of which scientists are now warning, they would be justified in looking back at us and asking, "What were you thinking? How could you have done this to us?"
But if they live in a world filled with a sense of renewal, with hundreds of millions of new jobs created in the Sustainability Revolution, with cleaner air and water and the growing prospect of restoring the climate balance -- if they have hope in their hearts and can experience the joy of telling their own children that their lives will be better still -- then they will ask a different question of us: "How did you find the moral courage to change, boldly and quickly, and save our future?"
The time for us to answer that question is now -- by seeking the truth about the reality we are confronting, by using the power we all have to bring about the necessary and urgent changes, and by never forgetting that the will to change is itself a renewable resource.
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (The Book) -- https://www.rodalebooks.com/inconvenientsequel/
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (Paramount Pictures) -- https://inconvenientsequel.tumblr.com/
At Trump Tower for a Meeting
March 2016 / The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy Isn't About Politics
'Time for New, Big Energy Ideas': Alternative, Renewable, Sustainable
(and to all the political haters of the ex US VP, get over it, it's time for energy that powers security)
The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy "advances high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are too early for private-sector investment. ARPA-E awardees are unique because they are developing entirely new ways to generate, store, and use energy."
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Quotes from the Audience: Highlights from Q&A with a Citizen Environmental Advocate
GreenPolicy360's friend Steve Clemons conducts a wide-ranging interview and discussion with the environmental activist and former US vice president, Al Gore
Following are quotes from Tweets by Adam Siegel @A_Siegell sent live on location from the ARPA-e conference as Steve interviews and Al Gore answers...
- .@algore We have $22T in stranded assets in fossil fuels. #arpae16 @ARPA #Divest #KeepitintheGround
- Economic calculations ignore externalities: negative (pollution) AND positive .@algore @arpa #ARPAE16
- Last 18 months, fossil fuel assets have lost $100T in value .@algore @arpa #arpae16
- The $22T in subprime assets something like 'Big Short' -- divestment has #climate and #financial imperative. .@algore @arpa #arpae16
- .@algore: @ARPAE has proven its value. #ARPAE16
- Article on @algore's 'investment genius' cited on stage #ARPAE16. www.theatlantic.com/... @ARPAE
- .@algore: "@PaulPolman (@Unilever) one of the most innovative Corporate leaders in the world". #ARPAE16 @ARPAE
- "Job 1 is best return for our clients" even while seeking to advance positives. .@algore #ARPAE16 @ARPAE
- "When you can do both [financial & social return], you put pressure on others to pay attention" .@algore @ARPAE #ARPAE16 #investment
- Core question in #investment: Do you have a shadow price on #carbon? .@algore #ARPAE16 @ARPAE #ActOnClimate #Climate
- Carbon is indicator of inefficiency -- and thus shadow price good guidepost for investing. .@algore @ARPAE #ARPAE16
- We are absolutely, absolutely at an inflection point (re renewables, #solar, #pv, etc). .@algore @ARPAE #ARPAE16
- .#Solar now at inflection point of #grid parity: #pv prices going down 10%/year for decades. .@algore @ARPAE No sign of it stopping. #ARPAE16
- .@SCClemons to .@algore: are we done, do we have every thing for #climate/#energy revolution? @ARPAE #ARPAE16 #ActOnClimate #Climate
- We have the momentum, but it matters how fast we #ActOnClimate. .@algore @ARPAE #ARPAE16 #Climate
- Those trying us to prevent moves to #ActOnClimate are spending $1B/year on #tobacco-like disinformation. .@algore
- As a byproduct of making money, creating jobs, ... we can save the future of humanity. .@algore @ARPAE #ActOnClimate #Climate #ARPAE16
- We, a long time ago, woke up that we can't use Potomac or Thames River as a sewer. .@algore @ARPAE #ActOnClimate #ARPAE16
- We can't treat atmosphere as a sewer any longer. @algore @ARPAE #ARPA16 #ActOnClimate
- .@SCClemons: Do you watch @GOP debates? Only Kasich has anything near rational to say on #climate. #ARPAE16 .@algore @ARPAE
- Your advice to environmental orgs? @SCClemons to @algore @ARPAE #ARPAE16: Price on #carbon or #KeepItIntheGround? Response: All Of The Above
- How do you grade @BARACKOBAMA: @SCClemons to @algore @ARPAE #ARPAE16. First 3 months of 1st term, started well and then not really satisfied
- Since 2d inauguration speech, @BarackObama has been outstanding on #Climate. @algore @ARPAE #ARPAE16 #ActOnClimate @POTUS
- We are lucky to have @BarackObama as @POTUS. @algore #ARPAE16 @ARPAE
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Background: DARPA, the ARPANET and Senator Gore
Re: The origins of the Internet and government's role
... In 1983, TCP/IP protocols replaced NCP as the ARPANET's principal protocol, and the ARPANET then became one subnet of the early Internet.
The original IMPs and TIPs were phased out as the ARPANET was shut down after the introduction of the NSFNet, but some IMPs remained in service as late as July 1990.
"The ARPANET Completion Report, jointly published by BBN and ARPA, concludes that: ... it is somewhat fitting to end on the note that the ARPANET program has had a strong and direct feedback into the support and strength of computer science, from which the network, itself, sprang.
In the wake of ARPANET being formally decommissioned on 28 February 1990, Vinton Cerf wrote the following lamentation, entitled "Requiem of the ARPANET":
- It was the first, and being first, was best,
- but now we lay it down to ever rest.
- Now pause with me a moment, shed some tears.
- For auld lang syne, for love, for years and years
- of faithful service, duty done, I weep.
- Lay down thy packet, now, O friend, and sleep.
- - Vinton Cerf
Senator Albert Gore, Jr. began to craft the High Performance Computing and Communication Act of 1991 (commonly referred to as "The Gore Bill") after hearing the 1988 report toward a National Research Network submitted to Congress by a group chaired by Leonard Kleinrock, professor of computer science at UCLA. The bill was passed on 9 December 1991 and led to the National Information Infrastructure (NII) which Al Gore called the "information superhighway"...
The above story of the origins of the Internet carries a deep lesson. The Wiki view is simple: 'The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was an early packet switching network and the first network to implement the protocol suite TCP/IP. Both technologies became the technical foundation of the Internet. ARPANET was initially funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) of the United States...'
The larger tale has more to it. It is about securing the nation, it is about the government acting in what is seen as the national interest. Defense and protection of command-and-control systems led initial communication network and fiber optic research. The outcome of this research and work led to the knowledge base and building of what became the Internet and Internet economy.
Similarly, across a wide spectrum, many government-funded science projects, not unlike the research that led to the packet switching Internet, have led to transformative discoveries and shifts to benefit national interests. Now is the time for transformation again. It is in the national interest to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Like the government's ARPANET research, today's energy science ARPA-E funding has potential to transform the energy industry.
The potential benefits can be seen as 'positive externalities' and touch all elements of domestic/foreign policy, offering ways and means to cut constant and escalating war spending to secure gas/oil supplies. As renewable energy and attendant alternative ecosystems come on line, the possibilities increase for reducing the risks, costs and threats of global climate change. The past two centuries of struggle and war for gas/oil and spiking carbon emissions and environmental degradation and 'negative externalities' that effect the future of communities and national/global security can be turned in a positive and sustainable direction.
Shifting from fossil fuels to renewables will deliver transformative eco-nomics. As we look out at the environmental security horizon, this strategic demand is the great challenge of the 21st century.
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According to Citigroup analysts: $US100 trillion of potential stranded assets in the fossil fuel industry
"...We estimate that the total value of stranded assets could be over $US100 trillion based on current market prices,” Citigroup notes in their report. And coal bears the brunt, accounting for more than half the value of stranded assets, even in the unlikely event that carbon capture and storage becomes a viable technology."
Race to Innovate
Breakthrough in next generation of storage batteries could transform the US electrical grid within five to 10 years, says research agency, Arpa-E
- Keeping in mind 'Open Source' innovation that Elon Musk and multiple next-generation entrepreneurs are encouraging for rapid eco-nomic extension, reach and engagement
US ARPA-E Review and Budget Request
A View of Government's role in 'Tranformational' and Renewable Energy
Advanced Research Projects Agency/ARPA -- Forward-Thinking and -Acting
As defined by its authorization under the America COMPETES Act, the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) catalyzes transformational energy technologies to enhance the economic and energy security of the United States. ARPA-E funds high-potential, high-impact energy projects that are too early for private sector investment but could significantly advance the ways we generate, store, distribute and use energy.
ARPA-E plays a unique role in DOE’s research and development R&D organization, complementing and expanding the impact of DOE’s basic science and applied energy programs.
ARPA-E focuses on energy technologies that can be meaningfully advanced with a targeted investment over a defined period of time. ARPA-E’s rigorous program design, close coordination with other DOE offices and federal agencies, competitive project selection process, and hands-on engagement, ensure thoughtful expenditures while empowering America’s energy researchers with funding, technical assistance, and market awareness.
ARPA-E was established by the America COMPETES Act of 2007 following a recommendation by the National Academies in the Rising above the Gathering Storm report.
As of December 2015, ARPA-E has funded over 450 projects with approximately $1.3 billion through 29 focused programs and open funding solicitations.
Highlights and Major Changes in the FY 2017 Budget Request
Under the Budget Request for FY 2017, ARPA-E expects to release funding opportunity announcements (FOA) for seven to eight focused technology programs, slightly increase funding for Innovative Development in Energy-Related Applied Sciences (IDEAS) proposals, and potentially run a technology prize competition. In addition, funding will support opportunities for qualification and field testing, thereby further de-risking these technologies and increasing the likelihood that projects will receive private sector investment.
In keeping with a multi-year cycle for OPEN solicitations (2009, 2012, and 2015), ARPA-E does not anticipate an open solicitation in FY 2017. In FY 2017, ARPA-E will continue its stand-alone Small Business Innovation Research / Small Business Technology Transfer(SBIR/STTR) program to provide additional support to small businesses beyond the significant number of awards that go to small businesses via ARPA-E’s standard FOA process.
In addition to the FY 2017 Budget Request, an authorization proposal of $150 million in mandatory funding in 2017 as part of a larger, new legislative proposal, the “Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy Trust” program, will be transmitted to Congress. This would provide a total FY 2017 Budget of $500 million. The full authorization proposal would seek $1.85 billion for ARPA-E over 5 years. In addition to the $150 million in FY 2017, this would include $250 million in FY 2018, $350 million in FY 2019, $450 million in FY 2020, and $650 million in FY 2021.
These funds will provide a reliable stream of funding to create a complementary new effort that will expand ARPA-E’s impact.
A significant focus of this expanded effort will be on accelerating technologies that have demonstrated significant early-stage success toward readiness for private-sector investment. Combined with ARPA-E’s annual appropriations, this will result in a total funding level of approximately $1 billion in 2021.
Fortune magazine - March 1, 2016 report -- For the first time since the program was created, it’s now looking to expand significantly beyond its original mandate to support moonshots. The program is hoping to create a new fund focused on supporting and growing later-stage energy technologies.
That fund, called the ARPA-E Trust, could grow its annual budget over time, until together with the moonshots, the two programs could reach a collective $1 billion by 2021. That’s about three times ARPA-E’s current annual budget ($291 million) for 2016.
The desire to expand the ARPA-E ambition partly comes out of the Paris Climate Conference, where for the first time last December close to 200 countries agreed to set goals to lower greenhouse gas emissions. During the two weeks of meetings, a handful of governments, including the U.S., agreed to attempt to double their budgets for energy research and development. The new plan for the ARPA-E Trust, and the billion-dollar budget, is one way the DOE is trying to pursue this commitment, called the “Mission Innovation” initiative.
The new pursuit puts the ARPA-E program in a unique and possibly unenviable position. The program has long been the poster child of the Department of Energy, with its focus on technology and innovation, its rigorously monitored tracks, its daring mandate, and its modest spending. The program has managed to get bipartisan support...
Many have called for ARPA-E to be expanded over the years. The American Energy Innovation Council, a group made up of business leaders such as Bill Gates, have been requesting that ARPA-E’s annual budget be boosted to $1 billion a year. In fact, when the program was created its own intentions were to hit $1 billion a year at some point.
But due to the impasse in Congress, and some of the politicization of the DOE’s other programs, ARPA-E’s budget has been limited since its inception.
Atlantic magazine / James Fallows
The former vice president has led his firm to financial success. But what he really wants to do is create a whole new version of capitalism
A History of An Inconvenient Truth