By Andrew Nusca
Posting in Energy
Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger called for an end to political gridlock on clean energy and urged lawmakers to see the green revolution as a common interest.
WASHINGTON -- In a thundering speech at times both passionate and humorous, former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday called for both political parties to set ideological debates like climate change aside and instead focus on the undeniable benefits of a green revolution.
"There is a disconnect between what is happening and what is being debated," he said. "For too long, we have been fighting over greenhouse gases and global warming. Where is this getting us? What has this brought us?"
Speaking to a packed house at the second annual ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit in Washington, D.C., Schwarzenegger called for an end to green gridlock.
"If we haven't convinced the skeptics right now, we're never going to. Let's just move past the old arguments. We need both parties to create an energy future. One party can't do it alone."
Drawing parallells between the political upheaval in the Middle East and the emergence of clean energy, Schwarzenegger said both were an occasion to "subvert the status quo," "overthrow the old order" and, in the case of the latter, begin a "new era of American competitiveness."
"In 50 years, this country will not be what it was," he said. "It will be much better."
CALIFORNIA AS THE NATION'S MODEL
For most Americans, the biggest problem is not saving energy, it's the economy and jobs. But those are inexorably linked, and the next generation will not have a higher quality of living if the status quo is preserved, Schwarzenegger said.
"It is absolutely clear that the green economy is a way to keep America competitive abroad," he said. "Clean energy is the next great wave of innovation."
Unsurprisingly, Schwarzenegger used California as a clean energy foil for the rest of the nation: the state with "the biggest wind farms" and solar plants is seeing green jobs as the "largest source of growth" in the state, up to 10 times higher than growth in other sectors, he said.
Giving biofuels startup Solazyme -- which converts algae into oil that's 90 percent cleaner than petroleum-derived oil -- a shout-out, Schwarzenegger said major clients -- like the U.S. Navy -- are making bets on cleaner energy sources.
"We're not talking about some environmental weirdos, we're talking about the Navy!" he exclaimed. "When the United States Navy takes on a goal, you know it's going to happen. That's a follow-through organization."
Schwarzenegger imagined a world in which the U.S. implemented three policy initiatives from California:
- A goal of 40 percent energy efficiency. The average American electricity bill would drop $560 through mandates for weatherizing homes. "Republicans and Democrats would like that," he said. It would also save 1 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases each year.
- A 33-percent renewable standard by 2020. Right now, California's at about 20 percent. "We could close three-quarters of our coal plants," he said.
- Pass laws to make cars more fuel-efficient. Obama has already taken a page from California's book and adopted these. Would save motorists an average of $1,300 per year. "You see, when you have an energy policy, you save money," he said.
"Why are we debating the science when we could be discussing the progress?" he asked rhetorically.
COMPETING ON THE GLOBAL STAGE
"China is an old culture with new ideas," he said. "We cannot let America be a new culture with old ideas."
The U.S. can't sit on the sidelines, he said.
"When it comes to human rights, we didn't say to China, 'OK, you go first.' When we went to the Moon we didn't say to Russia, 'You go first.' When we built the first computer, we didn't say Japan, 'You first.' Our homeland security should not be compromised by foreign oil."
Schwarzenegger said every U.S. president since Eisenhower has been asking to wean the U.S. off foreign oil, yet imports have risen from 20 percent to 60 percent during that time. Why? Because America does not have that energy policy, he said.
"Why should a dried-up country like Libya with a crazy dictator like [Muammar] Qaddafi play havoc with America's oil prices?" he said. "It doesn't make sense to me."
HEALTH AS A DRIVER
Schwarzenegger said the U.S. sees 100,000 premature deaths each year from petroleum-related air pollution, as well as 6.5 million annual hospital visits each year from respiratory problems caused by the same thing -- more deaths than car accidents, drunk drivers, gang wars, suicides and soldier deaths in Iraq & Afghanistan combined.
"You can't just keep talking about global warming -- people can't relate to that," he said. "But people dying, they can relate to that. Jobs, they can relate to that."
ODDS 'N' ENDS
More highlights from the quotable former governor:
- On the defeat of California's Proposition 23, in which conservative groups attempted to gut environmental laws: "The people said, 'hasta la vista, baby' to all those oil companies and they terminated them."
- "Our environmental laws are not for sale. They are good for the economy and jobs…they are good for the future."
- "You are all technologists. I believe with all my heart in what you're doing."
- Finally, to U.S. energy secretary Steven Chu: "Steven how are your glutes? They need a little bit more work."
Photos: Ken Shipp/DOE
More from the 2011 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit:
Mar 1, 2011
Over time, oil will become more difficult (expensive) to extract and shorter in supply. The price will naturally go up. Only at that point will we see serious interest in consumers changing their behavior, and truly viable alternatives arising that won't require massive subsidies and state coercion forcing people to use them. What we see to day is merely corporate welfare and crony capitalism. Ethanol is the best example of this; a "green" alternative that costs many times more than oil and is actually more detrimental to the environment. Even Al Gore admits that he supported it for political over environmental reasons. Either way, running out of oil is not what concerns me. What does concern me is the money we're wasting on alternatives that are political first, and efficient second or third which will ultimately squeeze out the truly "green" alternatives.
The oil will run out, make no mistake about it. If you think we have problems now, just wait until supply exceeds demand. If we don't have alternative energies in place and aren't working to reduce our increasing consumption for energy, we'll be toast and terminated before you know it. Thankfully, a real leader like Schwarzenegger has the guts to point out the ludicrousness of continuing to argue about the established facts of global warming, rather than waiting until later to act (when things will be much worse) as so many climate deniers in Washington would have us do.
If Schwarzenegger is using a Hummer, he should be making changes to lead as an example. Despite the problems and criticisms, we have to start somewhere. To say that this will cost too much or is insignificant does not help nor push towards progress. What program has started perfect? None. This is a fact of life and development. When the French revolution started, what followed was more bloodshed and then Napoleon stepped in - replacing one autocracy with a dictatorship. However, out of this episode emerged a new France - freer, better and more prosperous. As for some of the criticisms of green tech, I would like to point out that despite having to use electricity from the grid, electric cars do save money - a 20:1 ration from a recent test - and are more energy efficient, in other words, with a higher percentage of energy used compared to the 20% or 30% from burning gasoline with the rest being lost in the form of heat. If we put an electric motor into a Hummer, the $ savings and much higher energy efficiency coupled with much lower dissipation of heat will make dramatic differences to one's personal economy as well as the environment e.g. helping to lower summer temperatures in densely-populated cities and therefore necessitating less air-conditioning. Instead of saying how little this or that helps, we should be exploring the options and making a commitment and not wait for the next crisis, like what's happening in Libya, now to realize how much our economy is blackmailed by mad men and beyond our control. Wake up! Stop the criticism-only talk, give some positive suggestions and take action to stop the rot and blackmail.
...if the trend for the percentage of electricity that California consumes coming from outside the state was shrinking instead of growing. In the end, they're going to do the same thing to power generation that they've done to manufacturing; it's all going to get outsourced to places well outside their green borders.
Unfortunately most people are technologically ignorant. There is a sea of energy all around us. There are new technologies coming into existence today that are able to tap or should I say translate those energies into clear usable energy, for heating or transportation. Here are a few, solar concentrators, more efficient photovoltaic cells,wave energy, tidal energy,wind energy, cold fusion energy, catalytic assisted solar electrolysis to produce cheep hydrogen, algae oil production,I don't like grain alcohol because of the food shortages around the world,but cane and cellulose are OK,Ultrasonic or innercia containment fusion looks promising if harmonic amplification is employed, catalytic heat storage and catlitic fuel convertion also look promissing if cheeper catalists can be found. Zero point energy is a strong possibility if the jitter can be interfeared with. Frequency one plus frequency two equals frequency three at a higher amplitude. Double reception interfearance has always been available to produce a gain. Even Mosses knew about that one.
A lot of you people commenting are not looking at the big picture. This is not a U.S.problem. It is a global problem. Mandating efficiency will only work if the utilities are forced to buy alternative energy and to eventually shut down their present technology and switch to new ones. There are already inventions in the works in Europe that will produce cold fusion energy in the near future. They will be built on the scale of a local substation for the present and will soon be available for households. If we do not get in gear with our own tech we will be up shits creek very shortly.
I think the x gov. has got it right. If we don't kick the oil and coal lobbyists out of Washington we will never get this country on the right track. Other counties are already ahead of us. If we don't get our asses in gear we will get left behind. Write to your congressmen and turn the tide.
You cannot conserve your way out of a shortage. If you mandated that all homes get an energy efficiency audit, fined those that did not pass each year with a $500 fine until they do; then if everyone spent $1,500 to $5,000 to be efficient; the RATES would HAVE to be raised so that the utilities can earn the SAME amount as they do now. You may save $560 a year - but the utilities STILL have to make that same amount - so the rates will have to go up for eveyone. You have now "saved" all that energy - but where did it really go? They used less oil / gas to generate it so it does delay the problem - and of couse more people are ALWAYS coming so the net demand stays at best constant - and really still increases. Electric cars may reduce airborn pollution - but the electricy STILL has to be made to charge all the cars - you just shifted the problem to the electric plants who will need to use even MORE natural gas / oil / coal to make the electricty for the cars. Until a really new way to generate electricity is invented this problem will never go away.
The governor is right with his intent but the reality is he didn't get the job done. Los Angeles alone spends over 100 million dollars a year on energy costs reacting to urban heat islands. When we found the cause of urban heat islands and how they used massive energy responding to symptoms, we attempted to help California immediately. Saving billions, reducing energy use immediately while creating jobs wasn't enough to get past electronic voicemail in California. Creating a green economy while stopping global warming contributing to climate change requires building development to reflect solar radiation or the development gets radiated and generates extreme heat. Here is a link so the governor can see over 100 million dollars in building development being radiated by the sun and generating heat without emissions. Reflect or protect from solar radiation, all the codes are in place we just couldn't see it before. http://www.thermoguy.com/blog/index.php?itemid=52 Air conditioning is refrigeration because buildings are baked by the radiation. Air conditioning doesn't belong in buildings, it is used responding to symptoms. Take a look at a time-lapsed infrared video from the inside of a building, notice any differences? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AEgopYYmtI
What a joke coming from a state that is more than 50 percent inhospitable. If they did not strong arm their way into water sources several hundred miles away the entire LA basin and most of central and southern California would be one giant dust bowl. Only a thin sliver of land on the central and southern coast would have people. The people who are the greatest example of living an unsustainable life style are trying to tell the rest of us what to do. LMAO
Maybe i would be more impressed with the governator if he wasn't such a hypocrite. If he rode a bike instead of a Hummer, telecommuted instead of flying, and moved into a smaller energy efficient house. Also, green jobs created is in the low thousands while hundreds of thousands of jobs are lost in other sectors. New environmental regulations to be implemented by the scandal plagued California air resources board are expected to cost the average Californian thousands over the next several years and result in millions more jobs lost. Arnold, go away!!! Go back to making bad movies. Your governing was worse than your acting.
The King's Speech did really well in California. Let's hope The Governor's Speech does really well in California, and catches on to other Governors! Check http://earthpm.com for more green project news. Thanks, Smart Planet, for bringing this our way!
He told it like it really is! Now, if politicians will distance themselves from big oil and do the right thing...... we'll all be in a better place.
Good job Arnold! America can become a leader in clean energy: ?The people said, ?hasta la vista, baby? to all those oil companies and they terminated them.? You go, Terminator!!