09 April 2010

Dot Earth 2.0

Andy Revkin's Dot Earth has moved to the NYT opinion page. Congrats to Andy and to the NYT. Judging from Andy's first post, we can expect some of the most thoughtful commentary on the subject anywhere on or off the web, and the NYT's capacity on this topic has just taken a big step forward.

Here is an excerpt:
. . . if I had to choose one of two bumper stickers for our car — CLIMATE CRISIS or ENERGY QUEST — I’d choose the latter. This doesn’t mean I reject the idea that we face a climate crisis. I just don’t think that phrase is a productive way to frame this challenge, particularly as defined over the last few years in the heated policy debate. . .

The world is not remotely engaged in the kind of energy quest that would be required to fill the gaps defined above. I’m talking about a sustained quest, from the household light socket to the boardroom, the laboratory to the classroom, the smart post-industrial American city to the struggling, (literally) powerless sub-Saharan village. This is not some onerous task, but an active, positive assertion that the ways we harvest and use energy — an asset long taken for granted and priced in ways that mask its broader costs — really do matter. Dry places do this with water all the time. In Israel, there is no toilet without two flush options. It’s not some goofball green concept; it’s just the way things are done.

You’ve heard a lot about an energy revolution of late, involving a (temporary) burst of spending from the stimulus legislation. But it’s building from a paltry base of both public and private investment in the energy arenas where breakthroughs could really expand the menu of energy options required to sustain a prospering, healthy planet as the human growth spurt crests. I’m not saying that a sustained investment in scientific research is remotely sufficient, on its own, to drive an energy transformation. But I do see levels of investment in such inquiry as a proxy for our overall interest in this issue.

Check it out.