The Carbon-Free in Ten Years Petition sign now

Do you agree with the ambitious (but common-sense) July 17th goal (see AlGore.com) set by former Vice President Al Gore that all levels of government-- local, county, state, and federal-- need to work together as effectively, efficiently, and quickly as possible to make sure that the U.S. truly is 100\% carbon-free and completely reliant on renewable forms of energy like solar, wind, and geothermal by 2018 (in ten years)?

If you do, sign on to this petition, pass it along to all you know, and contact Congress at (800) 828-0498, our state legislature at (877) 255-9417, and our County Legislature at [email protected]

Middlebury College's Bill McKibben wrote this May 11th: "A few weeks ago, NASA's chief climatologist, James Hansen, submitted a paper to Science magazine with several coauthors. The abstract attached to it argued-- and I have never read stronger language in a scientific paper-- that 'if humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm.' Hansen cites six irreversible tipping points-- massive sea level rise and huge changes in rainfall patterns, among them-- that we'll pass if we don't get back down to 350 soon; and the first of them, judging by last summer's insane melt of Arctic ice, may already be behind us. Two weeks ago came the news that atmospheric carbon dioxide had jumped 2.4 parts per million last year-- two decades ago, it was going up barely half that fast."
[from "Civilization's Last Chance: The Planet Is Nearing a Tipping Point on Climate Change, and It Gets Much Worse, Fast"
(LATimes.com/news/opinion/la-op-mckibben11-2008may11,0,7434369.story)]

From Bill McKibben's 350.org website itself-- "350 is the red line for human beings, the most important number on the planet. The most recent science tells us that unless we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, we will cause huge and irreversible damage to the earth. Dr. James Hansen, of NASA, the United States' space agency, has been researching global warming longer than just about anyone else. He was the first to publicly testify before the U.S. Congress, in June of 1988, that global warming was real. He and his colleagues have used both real-world observation, computer simulation, and mountains of data about ancient climates to calculate what constitutes dangerous quantities of carbon in the atmosphere. The Bush Administration has tried to keep Hansen and his team from speaking publicly, but their analysis has been widely praised by other scientists, and by experts like Nobel Prize winner Al Gore. The full text of James Hansen's paper about the need to bring back the level of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere to 350 can be found here: http://arxiv.org/abs/0804.1126. Make no mistake--getting back to 350 means transforming our world. It means building solar arrays instead of coal plants, it means planting trees instead of clear-cutting rainforests, it means increasing efficiency and decreasing our waste. The fact is that America has been producing more carbon dioxide than any other country, and leads the industrialized world in per capita emissions."

We have no time to waste.

Joel Tyner
Dutchess County Legislature Environmental Committee Chair
County Legislator (Clinton/Rhinebeck)
324 Browns Pond Road
Staatsburg, NY 12580
[email protected]
(845) 876-2488

[Note: Though more needs to be done, on a local level here in Dutchess County I've been doing what I can as a member of our County Legislature-- getting resolutions passed in April for solar panels on our County Office Building (and hopefully soon for all our county buildings) and for no-cost energy audits of all county buildings (by Johnson Controls or a similar firm), and in June for Dutchess County to follow the smart example of Cambridge, Massachusetts and the Cambridge Energy Alliance there, helping homeowners and businesses secure loans to pay for building retrofits, those loans designed to pay themselves off with $160 million in savings on utility bills over the next ten years for a city with 100,000 population-- with almost everyone eligible for energy audits, energy efficiency retrofits, and solar/geothermal investment loans (what really needs to happen now-- without further delay-- is county follow-through on these three resolutions passed already this year in our County Legislature; call the County Executive on this at 486-2000).

According to CambridgeEnergyAlliance.org-- "Over the next five to six years, the Cambridge Energy Alliance seeks to serve 50\% of all Cambridge buildings and reduce electricity demand by 15\%, with comparable reductions in heating and water use. Over 80\% of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Cambridge are the result of energy use in buildings. The program will reduce annual GHG emissions from the city by 150,000 tons in the first five to six years. Through a combined investment of over $100 million over the next five years in improvements that reduce energy waste, the Cambridge Energy Alliance expects to save 164 million kiloWatt hours of electricity annually and to cut the demand for electricity at peak use times by 50 MWs,"

If Dutchess County is truly serious about following through on resolution #208182 for us to follow the Cambridge model (overwhelmingly passed in bipartisan fashion, 22-3 at June 11th meeting), we might well be able to save upwards of half a billion dollars over the next ten years (three times the $160 million projected in savings there for a population one-third our size). So far just in June alone we've had representatives from Central Hudson, Community Foundation, Dyson Foundation, Scenic Hudson, Sustainable Hudson Valley, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Cornell Cooperative Extension, NYSERDA/Mid-Hudson Energy $mart Communities, Dutchess Community College, Marist, Vassar, and Bard colleges, Citizens Bank, Milan Town Board, Smith Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church in Poughkeepsie, Holy Light Pentecostal Church in Poughkeepsie, Beulah Baptist Church in Poughkeepsie, and Sustainable Dutchess all participate in meetings we've chaired on this-- but we need the help of many more of you out there to truly make this initiative real-- so contact us if you'd like to help our Green Collar Jobs Task Force do this.

Also-- besides the above, there's much more we can do on a county level to make Al Gore's, Bill McKibben's, and James Hansen's vision real; your help is very much needed to get resolutions on agenda for our County Legislature meetings and passed in the second half of this year-- for something as simple as a link on our county website for a local version of CarbonRally.com (recently profiled in Time magazine-- a voluntary carbon-cutting ongoing challenge/contest for local schools, nonprofits, businesses, families, et. al.), switching the entire fleet of county vehicles and buses to hybrids, allowing Dutchess residents the opportunity to vote on a local carbon tax referendum (with revenues to go towards tax relief for middle/low income earners), a revenue-neutral "feebate" county sales tax system-- tax incentives for purchasing fuel-efficient cars and sales tax increases for gas guzzlers (as recommended by Rocky Mountain Institute), working with nonprofits and volunteers to get compact fluorescent light bulbs into every house in the county (as in Babylon, NY), making in-home electricity sensors like PowerCost Monitors and cent-a-meters much more readily available for county residents (as in Ontario), getting traffic signals across Dutchess changed to LED (they use 90\% less energy and last ten times longer-- as in Westchester, Denver, St. Paul, etc.), and a county-level tax exemption for sales and installation of residential solar energy systems (as passed already in Albany, Columbia, Essex, Hamilton, Montgomery, Nassau, Oneida, Orange, Rensselaer, Rockland, Schuyler, Suffolk, Tompkins, Warren, and Yates counties, and New York City)-- for more on these, see CarbonRally.com, petitiononline.com/carbontx, petitiononline.com/cleancar, petitiononline.com/cleanbus, Westchestergov.com/soc.htm, Save-Electricity.ca/faqs.html, Power2save.ca/, tax.state.ny.us/pdf/publications/sales/pub718s_1107.pdf, petitiononline.com/greenbld, petitiononline.com/solaryes, PetitionOnline.com/StepItUp!]

Fact: "In recent decades, however, the characteristic climate of the Northeast has begun to change dramatically. Between 1970 and 2000 alone, summer temperatures rose about one degree Fahrenheit (єF) and winter temperatures rose nearly 4 єF. Spring is arriving sooner, summers are growing hotter, and winters are becoming warmer and less snowy. Without deep cuts in heat-trapping emissions, summers in New York near the end of the century may feel as hot as Georgia summers do today. Fortunately, it's not too late to preserve the traditional character of our northeastern states."
[from Erika Spanger-Siegfried of the Union of Concerned Scientists:
UCSUSA.org/publications/catalyst/northeast-climate-change.html]

Recall-- according to the latest report from the American Lung Association of NYS, there are over 39,000 Dutchess residents with asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema-- and as it is now already a number of air quality advisories and alerts have already been issued this summer: ALANYS.org.

Also-- Dr. Clive Jones of the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies confirmed this below-- the fact is that the dangerous ground-level concentration of ozone here in Dutchess County is literally twice as bad as it is in the Bronx.

"City Trees Outgrow Rural Cousins, and Study Credits Urban Chemistry"
by James Gorman [NYTimes 7/10/03]
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9403EED6133DF933A25754C0A9659C8B63

"Everyone knows that trees grow in Brooklyn. Now, scientists have discovered that they also flourish in the Bronx and Queens. In fact, cottonwood trees grow twice as fast in the chewy air of New York City as they do in the pastoral reaches of the Hudson Valley and eastern Long Island. In today's issue of the journal Nature, Jillian W. Gregg, a research ecologist, and colleagues report that Eastern cottonwood cuttings grown over several seasons in New York City and in rural areas of the state showed a consistent pattern. Each September, when the researchers measured the trees, the city saplings were twice as big...The explanation, it turns out, has to do with ozone. It is known to harm plants and animals, and it can be worse in rural areas than in the city. In general, Dr. Gregg writes, rural areas in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have higher concentrations of ozone near the ground than cities do. (In the stratosphere, ozone forms a layer that protects life on earth from ultraviolet radiation; that layer has been decreasing, while ozone concentrations in the air that people breathe have been increasing.)"

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From AlGore.com, then...

AL GORE: A Generational Challenge to Repower America

This speech was given July 17th at the D.A.R. Constitutional Hall in Washington D.C....

Ladies and gentlemen:

There are times in the history of our nation when our very way of life depends upon dispelling illusions and awakening to the challenge of a present danger. In such moments, we are called upon to move quickly and boldly to shake off complacency, throw aside old habits and rise, clear-eyed and alert, to the necessity of big changes. Those who, for whatever reason, refuse to do their part must either be persuaded to join the effort or asked to step aside. This is such a moment. The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk. And even more -- if more should be required -- the future of human civilization is at stake.

I don't remember a time in our country when so many things seemed to be going so wrong simultaneously. Our economy is in terrible shape and getting worse, gasoline prices are increasing dramatically, and so are electricity rates. Jobs are being outsourced. Home mortgages are in trouble. Banks, automobile companies and other institutions we depend upon are under growing pressure. Distinguished senior business leaders are telling us that this is just the beginning unless we find the courage to make some major changes quickly.

The climate crisis, in particular, is getting a lot worse -- much more quickly than predicted. Scientists with access to data from Navy submarines traversing underneath the North polar ice cap have warned that there is now a 75 percent chance that within five years the entire ice cap will completely disappear during the summer months. This will further increase the melting pressure on Greenland. According to experts, the Jakobshavn glacier, one of Greenland's largest, is moving at a faster rate than ever before, losing 20 million tons of ice every day, equivalent to the amount of water used every year by the residents of New York City.

Two major studies from military intelligence experts have warned our leaders about the dangerous national security implications of the climate crisis, including the possibility of hundreds of millions of climate refugees destabilizing nations around the world.

Just two days ago, 27 senior statesmen and retired military leaders warned of the national security threat from an "energy tsunami" that would be triggered by a loss of our access to foreign oil. Meanwhile, the war in Iraq continues, and now the war in Afghanistan appears to be getting worse.

And by the way, our weather sure is getting strange, isn't it? There seem to be more tornadoes than in living memory, longer droughts, bigger downpours and record floods. Unprecedented fires are burning in California and elsewhere in the American West. Higher temperatures lead to drier vegetation that makes kindling for mega-fires of the kind that have been raging in Canada, Greece, Russia, China, South America, Australia and Africa. Scientists in the Department of Geophysics and Planetary Science at Tel Aviv University tell us that for every one degree increase in temperature, lightning strikes will go up another 10 percent. And it is lightning, after all, that is principally responsible for igniting the conflagration in California today.

Like a lot of people, it seems to me that all these problems are bigger than any of the solutions that have thus far been proposed for them, and that's been worrying me.

I'm convinced that one reason we've seemed paralyzed in the face of these crises is our tendency to offer old solutions to each crisis separately -- without taking the others into account. And these outdated proposals have not only been ineffective - they almost always make the other crises even worse.

Yet when we look at all three of these seemingly intractable challenges at the same time, we can see the common thread running through them, deeply ironic in its simplicity: our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels is at the core of all three of these challenges -- the economic, environmental and national security crises.

We're borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that's got to change.

But if we grab hold of that common thread and pull it hard, all of these complex problems begin to unravel and we will find that we're holding the answer to all of them right in our hand.
The answer is to end our reliance on carbon-based fuels.

In my search for genuinely effective answers to the climate crisis, I have held a series of "solutions summits" with engineers, scientists, and CEOs. In those discussions, one thing has become abundantly clear: when you connect the dots, it turns out that the real solutions to the climate crisis are the very same measures needed to renew our economy and escape the trap of ever-rising energy prices. Moreover, they are also the very same solutions we need to guarantee our national security without having to go to war in the Persian Gulf.

What if we could use fuels that are not expensive, don't cause pollution and are abundantly available right here at home?

We have such fuels. Scientists have confirmed that enough solar energy falls on the surface of the earth every 40 minutes to meet 100 percent of the entire world's energy needs for a full year.

Tapping just a small portion of this solar energy could provide all of the electricity America uses.
And enough wind power blows through the Midwest corridor every day to also meet 100 percent of US electricity demand. Geothermal energy, similarly, is capable of providing enormous supplies of electricity for America.

The quickest, cheapest and best way to start using all this renewable energy is in the production of electricity. In fact, we can start right now using solar power, wind power and geothermal power to make electricity for our homes and businesses.

But to make this exciting potential a reality, and truly solve our nation's problems, we need a new start.

That's why I'm proposing today a strategic initiative designed to free us from the crises that are holding us down and to regain control of our own destiny. It's not the only thing we need to do. But this strategic challenge is the linchpin of a bold new strategy needed to re-power America.

Today I challenge our nation to commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years.

This goal is achievable, affordable and transformative. It represents a challenge to all Americans -- in every walk of life: to our political leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, and to every citizen.

A few years ago, it would not have been possible to issue such a challenge. But here's what's changed: the sharp cost reductions now beginning to take place in solar, wind, and geothermal power - coupled with the recent dramatic price increases for oil and coal -- have radically changed the economics of energy.

When I first went to Congress 32 years ago, I listened to experts testify that if oil ever got to $35 a barrel, then renewable sources of energy would become competitive. Well, today, the price of oil is over $135 per barrel. And sure enough, billions of dollars of new investment are flowing into the development of concentrated solar thermal, photovoltaics, windmills, geothermal plants, and a variety of ingenious new ways to improve our efficiency and conserve presently wasted energy.

And as the demand for renewable energy grows, the costs will continue to fall. Let me give you one revealing example: the price of the specialized silicon used to make solar cells was recently as high as $300 per kilogram. But the newest contracts have prices as low as $50 a kilogram.

You know, the same thing happened with computer chips -- also made out of silicon. The price paid for the same performance came down by 50 percent every 18 months -- year after year, and that's what's happened for 40 years in a row.

To those who argue that we do not yet have the technology to accomplish these results with renewable energy: I ask them to come with me to meet the entrepreneurs who will drive this revolution. I've seen what they are doing and I have no doubt that we can meet this challenge.
To those who say the costs are still too high: I ask them to consider whether the costs of oil and coal will ever stop increasing if we keep relying on quickly depleting energy sources to feed a rapidly growing demand all around the world. When demand for oil and coal increases, their price goes up. When demand for solar cells increases, the price often comes down.

When we send money to foreign countries to buy nearly 70 percent of the oil we use every day, they build new skyscrapers and we lose jobs. When we spend that money building solar arrays and windmills, we build competitive industries and gain jobs here at home.

Of course there are those who will tell us this can't be done. Some of the voices we hear are the defenders of the status quo -- the ones with a vested interest in perpetuating the current system, no matter how high a price the rest of us will have to pay. But even those who reap the profits of the carbon age have to recognize the inevitability of its demise. As one OPEC oil minister observed, "The Stone Age didn't end because of a shortage of stones."

To those who say 10 years is not enough time, I respectfully ask them to consider what the world's scientists are telling us about the risks we face if we don't act in 10 years. The leading experts predict that we have less than 10 years to make dramatic changes in our global warming pollution lest we lose our ability to ever recover from this environmental crisis. When the use of oil and coal goes up, pollution goes up. When the use of solar, wind and geothermal increases, pollution comes down.

To those who say the challenge is not politically viable: I suggest they go before the American people and try to defend the status quo. Then bear witness to the people's appetite for change.

I for one do not believe our country can withstand 10 more years of the status quo. Our families cannot stand 10 more years of gas price increases. Our workers cannot stand 10 more years of job losses and outsourcing of factories. Our economy cannot stand 10 more years of sending $2 billion every 24 hours to foreign countries for oil. And our soldiers and their families cannot take another 10 years of repeated troop deployments to dangerous regions that just happen to have large oil supplies.

What could we do instead for the next 10 years? What should we do during the next 10 years? Some of our greatest accomplishments as a nation have resulted from commitments to reach a goal that fell well beyond the next election: the Marshall Plan, Social Security, the interstate highway system. But a political promise to do something 40 years from now is universally ignored because everyone knows that it's meaningless. Ten years is about the maximum time that we as a nation can hold a steady aim and hit our target.

When President John F. Kennedy challenged our nation to land a man on the moon and bring him back safely in 10 years, many people doubted we could accomplish that goal. But 8 years and 2 months later, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the surface of the moon.

To be sure, reaching the goal of 100 percent renewable and truly clean electricity within 10 years will require us to overcome many obstacles. At present, for example, we do not have a unified national grid that is sufficiently advanced to link the areas where the sun shines and the wind blows to the cities in the East and the West that need the electricity. Our national electric grid is critical infrastructure, as vital to the health and security of our economy as our highways and telecommunication networks. Today, our grids are antiquated, fragile, and vulnerable to cascading failure. Power outages and defects in the current grid system cost US businesses more than $120 billion dollars a year. It has to be upgraded anyway.

We could further increase the value and efficiency of a Unified National Grid by helping our struggling auto giants switch to the manufacture of plug-in electric cars. An electric vehicle fleet would sharply reduce the cost of driving a car, reduce pollution, and increase the flexibility of our electricity grid.

At the same time, of course, we need to greatly improve our commitment to efficiency and conservation. That's the best investment we can make.

America's transition to renewable energy sources must also include adequate provisions to assist those Americans who would unfairly face hardship. For example, we must recognize those who have toiled in dangerous conditions to bring us our present energy supply. We should guarantee good jobs in the fresh air and sunshine for any coal miner displaced by impacts on the coal industry. Every single one of them.

Of course, we could and should speed up this transition by insisting that the price of carbon-based energy include the costs of the environmental damage it causes. I have long supported a sharp reduction in payroll taxes with the difference made up in CO2 taxes. We should tax what we burn, not what we earn. This is the single most important policy change we can make.

In order to foster international cooperation, it is also essential that the United States rejoin the global community and lead efforts to secure an international treaty at Copenhagen in December of next year that includes a cap on CO2 emissions and a global partnership that recognizes the necessity of addressing the threats of extreme poverty and disease as part of the world's agenda for solving the climate crisis.

Of course the greatest obstacle to meeting the challenge of 100 percent renewable electricity in 10 years may be the deep dysfunction of our politics and our self-governing system as it exists today. In recent years, our politics has tended toward incremental proposals made up of small policies designed to avoid offending special interests, alternating with occasional baby steps in the right direction. Our democracy has become sclerotic at a time when these crises require boldness.

It is only a truly dysfunctional system that would buy into the perverse logic that the short-term answer to high gasoline prices is drilling for more oil ten years from now.

Am I the only one who finds it strange that our government so often adopts a so-called solution that has absolutely nothing to do with the problem it is supposed to address? When people rightly complain about higher gasoline prices, we propose to give more money to the oil companies and pretend that they're going to bring gasoline prices down. It will do nothing of the sort, and everyone knows it. If we keep going back to the same policies that have never ever worked in the past and have served only to produce the highest gasoline prices in history alongside the greatest oil company profits in history, nobody should be surprised if we get the same result over and over again. But the Congress may be poised to move in that direction anyway because some of them are being stampeded by lobbyists for special interests that know how to make the system work for them instead of the American people.

If you want to know the truth about gasoline prices, here it is: the exploding demand for oil, especially in places like China, is overwhelming the rate of new discoveries by so much that oil prices are almost certain to continue upward over time no matter what the oil companies promise. And politicians cannot bring gasoline prices down in the short term.

However, there actually is one extremely effective way to bring the costs of driving a car way down within a few short years. The way to bring gas prices down is to end our dependence on oil and use the renewable sources that can give us the equivalent of $1 per gallon gasoline.

Many Americans have begun to wonder whether or not we've simply lost our appetite for bold policy solutions. And folks who claim to know how our system works these days have told us we might as well forget about our political system doing anything bold, especially if it is contrary to the wishes of special interests. And I've got to admit, that sure seems to be the way things have been going. But I've begun to hear different voices in this country from people who are not only tired of baby steps and special interest politics, but are hungry for a new, different and bold approach.

We are on the eve of a presidential election. We are in the midst of an international climate treaty process that will conclude its work before the end of the first year of the new president's term. It is a great error to say that the United States must wait for others to join us in this matter. In fact, we must move first, because that is the key to getting others to follow; and because moving first is in our own national interest.

So I ask you to join with me to call on every candidate, at every level, to accept this challenge -- for America to be running on 100 percent zero-carbon electricity in 10 years. It's time for us to move beyond empty rhetoric. We need to act now.

This is a generational moment. A moment when we decide our own path and our collective fate. I'm asking you - each of you - to join me and build this future. Please join the WE campaign at wecansolveit.org. We need you. And we need you now. We're committed to changing not just light bulbs, but laws. And laws will only change with leadership.

On July 16, 1969, the United States of America was finally ready to meet President Kennedy's challenge of landing Americans on the moon. I will never forget standing beside my father a few miles from the launch site, waiting for the giant Saturn 5 rocket to lift Apollo 11 into the sky. I was a young man, 21 years old, who had graduated from college a month before and was enlisting in the United States Army three weeks later.

I will never forget the inspiration of those minutes. The power and the vibration of the giant rocket's engines shook my entire body. As I watched the rocket rise, slowly at first and then with great speed, the sound was deafening. We craned our necks to follow its path until we were looking straight up into the air. And then four days later, I watched along with hundreds of millions of others around the world as Neil Armstrong took one small step to the surface of the moon and changed the history of the human race.

We must now lift our nation to reach another goal that will change history. Our entire civilization depends upon us now embarking on a new journey of exploration and discovery. Our success depends on our willingness as a people to undertake this journey and to complete it within 10 years. Once again, we have an opportunity to take a giant leap for humankind.

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From the July 18th New York Times...

[ http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/18/washington/18gore.html?hp ]

Gore Urges Change to Dodge an Energy Crisis
By JOHN M. BRODER
Published: July 18, 2008

WASHINGTON Former Vice President Al Gore on Thursday urged the United States to wean the nation from its entire electricity grid to carbon-free energy within 10 years, warning that drastic steps were needed to avoid a global economic and ecological cataclysm.

Like a modern Jeremiah, Mr. Gore called down thunder to justify the spending of trillions of dollars to remake the American power system, a plan fraught with technological and political challenges that goes far beyond the changes recently debated in Congress and by world leaders.

The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk, he said in a midday speech to a friendly crowd of mostly young supporters in Washington. And even more if more should be required the future of human civilization is at stake.

Mr. Gore, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for his environmental advocacy, said in an interview that he hoped to raise the alarm so that the next president, whether Senator Barack Obama or Senator John McCain, could rally Congress and the nation to action. He disavowed any interest in returning to elective office.

His approach, which would require abandoning old-fashioned, coal-fired power plants, goes beyond what even the most audacious scientists and entrepreneurs have proposed, as a means, he said, of jolting the world out of old ways of thinking. Without great dreams, he said, great deeds are never achieved, citing the quest for the Moon in the 1960s.

I see my role as enlarging the political space in which Senator Obama or Senator McCain can confront this issue as president next year, Mr. Gore said.

He said the United States and the rest of the world were facing unprecedented problems, including growing demand for electricity, dangerous changes in the climate driven largely by emissions of carbon dioxide and political instability in regions that produce much of the worlds oil.

When we look at all three of these seemingly intractable challenges at the same time, we can see the common thread running through them, deeply ironic in its simplicity: our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels is at the core of all three of these challenges the economic, environmental and national security crises, Mr. Gore said. Were borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that has to change.

His solution was to do away with all carbon-emitting forms of electricity production in the United States within 10 years, replacing them with alternatives like solar, wind and geothermal power, conservation and so-called clean-coal technology in which all carbon emissions from the burning of coal are captured and stored. It is a bold, and some say, unrealistic goal given the tremendous cost and the nations fractious politics.

Mr. Gore admitted his plan would, at least initially, drive energy prices higher. But he proposed a payroll tax cut to offset higher prices for fuel and electricity...Coal, which now produces about half of American electricity, would dwindle, while renewable sources, now producing less than 3 percent of the nations electricity, would rapidly grow. (Natural gas and hydroelectric dams provide most of the remainder of the nations electricity, relatively little of which comes from burning oil.)

Mr. Gore, who was awarded the Nobel Prize last October, is the most vocal in a growing chorus calling for a green energy revolution. The Texas oilman Boone Pickens has proposed converting a large portion of the American transportation fleet to run on compressed natural gas while spending billions on new wind farms to produce electricity. Even those who share Mr. Gores ideals expressed skepticism that his goal could be achieved in 10 years.

Mr. Gore is continuing his talent of identifying the key challenges, emphasizing urgency and translating it to a broad audience. Thats terrific, said Ernest J. Moniz, director of the energy initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a former under secretary at the Department of Energy in the Clinton administration. Everyone agrees that the solution to the climate challenge is decarbonization and the first place to go is the electricity sector. Can we get there that fast? Obviously its very, very tough.

Last winter, the House failed to enact legislation to require utilities to produce 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Last month, supporters could not even get a Senate vote on a climate change plan that would cut greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 70 percent by 2050. Mr. Gore was undeterred.

To those who say 10 years is not enough time, I respectfully ask them to consider seriously what the worlds scientists are telling us about the risks we face if we dont act in less than 10 years, he said.

He noted that the United States uses only a tiny fraction of the wind, solar and geothermal power available. He said entrepreneurs were investing billions of dollars in new technology and rapidly bringing down the cost of all alternative energy sources...

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