Not wasting energy. It is the least sexy, but the single most important and always the least expensive. You would be very interested in a report by the McKinsey consulting firm that concluded that 40 percent of everything that we have to do to mitigate our emissions are net economic winners. They are cost effective and the most cost effective is not wasting energy. That's actually going to be the largest part of this whole journey, I believe - using less energy with the same beneficial results.
Renewable energy also creates more jobs than other sources of energy - most of these will be created in the struggling manufacturing sector, which will pioneer the new energy future by investment that allows manufacturers to retool and adopt new technologies and methods.
With 1 million square miles of the Arctic melting unexpectedly this summer, these are warning signs that we have to act and act now. Our addiction to Middle Eastern oil obviously has security implications, and we think it's about time to be generating Eastern Washington wind energy instead of sending our money to the sheikhs.
Air is one we hold in common; it has a limited carrying capacity for pollutants and that's being used up by those who pollute the atmosphere. So we have to stop that externality. We would never allow a utility to put their coal slag in a dump truck and back it up to the city park and dump it in unlimited amounts for free. But that is exactly what we do with carbon dioxide and methane.
I'm sure that in the fullness of time we'll learn that one or more of these seemingly promising technologies were dead ends. And that's the nature of innovation, and that's why we should spread our bets; we should not put our eggs in any one basket. Some of these will be grand successes, some of them will be average, and some of them will be abject failures.
I would like to see whoever is our next president dedicate a significant part of their inaugural address to this challenge. We have to ignite the nation's energies and passions on this to make this happen. I think we do need the same kind of inspiration we had from Kennedy in his inaugural address in 1961.
We allow it to be dumped into this community asset, which is our one and only atmosphere. So that has to change, and there's really only one entity that can do that. So we have proposed a cap-and-trade system to stop that unlimited pollution, to use the forces of the market to efficiently allocate scarce permits to allow CO2 into the atmosphere. That's just one of 500 things we need to do, but it's probably the granddaddy of them all.
When Arnold Schwarzenegger goes to his reward - how's that? That's a crack, but I treat Governor Schwarzenegger well in my book. He's done such great work in California; we'll forgive him one personal habit. Everybody should have one not-totally-CO2-friendly habit they can be forgiven for. So we'll forgive him that one.
We've introduced the New Apollo Energy Act, which is, I think, safe to say the most comprehensive and aggressive bill that has been introduced in Congress because it does have the scale, scope, and ambition of the original Apollo Project, and it attacks the problem in every way you can imagine. There's no silver bullet here, but there are lots of opportunities.
We can't tell China what to do if we don't do it ourselves. You don't inspire someone to take an action by refusing to take it yourself. We are in a race to be the dominant clean-energy provider to the world. Maybe this goes without saying: We've got to get China into an international protocol and the magic words are "common responsibility with differentiated action."
We [USA and China] have a common responsibility with different numerical targets, and that's the situation ultimately we are going to have with China. We emit six times more per person than they do. It's hard to tell them to cut theirs in half right now until we start moving. Being the ostrich with your head in the sand and tail feathers in the air like some would have us to do while China continues to pollute is simply not an option.
Renewable energy also creates more jobs than other sources of energy – most of these will be created in the struggling manufacturing sector, which will pioneer the new energy future by investment that allows manufacturers to retool and adopt new technologies and methods.
Third issue, and again I think it is important to note, anyone can make a mistake and any administration can make a mistake once in a while, but this is just a long train of abuses, an unbroken chain of following special interests rather than the health of the American people.