Last week, Vice President Al Gore presented the American people with a challenge: meet 100% of our electricity needs through renewable energy within 10 years. Al would be the first to acknowledge this is not a minor task. And yet it is an urgent one, a challenge that will require a transformation in how we invest our time and money, and how we view ourselves.
I wanted to respond to Al Gore's call by asking two things of each of you:
1. Include your voice with the millions of others expressing support for this mission
2. Be part of collective solutions to make it a reality
Fully renewing our electricity production will not only be a major step towards addressing climate change, it is critical for an equally urgent crisis, though less understood: peak oil.
What is peak oil? Think of it as the ying to climate change's yang. If the climate crisis calls on us to renounce fossil fuels for the sake of future generations, energy depletion means that we must do so for our short-term economic survival. We will use fewer fossil fuels one way or another; but if we fail to adapt intelligently to the post-carbon era, the next few decades will see ever higher energy costs and continued high carbon emissions -- leaving us with a ruined environment and a shattered economy, unable to face a future without fossil fuels.
The solution to both climate change and fossil fuel depletion is to develop renewable sources of energy, use less energy, use energy differently -- and to make this transition as rapidly as possible. And so the goal to "Repower America" must be front and center in our thoughts and actions.
The real question now is "how?"
The first step is to join the caucus of those who are supporting Gore's call. You can do so by visiting wecansolveit.org.
The second is to get involved in collective solutions to make this vision a reality. Post Carbon Institute (for which I serve on the Board of Directors) has published a 10-point framework for achieving the goal of 100% renewable energy by 2018--one that recognizes the complex issues of energy depletion, the vulnerability of the supply chain and the limits of technology.
The ten points can be summarized by the following words:
I've been impressed by the passion, dedication, and ingenuity I've seen in those I've met at Netroots Nation and throughout the progressive blogosphere.