On Investing in Clean and Renewable Energy

iStock_000081962853_FullIt is not a worthy pursuit to continue debating the science behind climate change. The question is what we should be doing about it. There’s good news and bad news.

The good news is that we are very close to finding the “holy grail” of clean energy, which is storable and deployable solar energy. Currently, solar energy is greatly under-utilized for a variety of reasons, chief amongst them that the sun does not shine all day, nor necessarily when its energy is needed. If solar energy could be stored for long periods of time and deployed as needed, it would become the go-to form of energy across the globe. Entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, are working hard on advancing technology in this area. I propose that we dramatically step up our collective efforts to fund research in the area of solar battery storage for industrial, home and vehicle use, which would include tax incentives for private companies working in this area, funding for scholarly research, and perhaps even creating a national prize for enterprising individuals to work in this area as well. I also support tax incentives for companies that develop wind energy and clean energy transmission.

The bad news is that there is already too much carbon in the atmosphere. While clean energy policies will reduce emissions, they do not do much about what is already up there. It is clear that we must start to look at ways that carbon, and other pollutants, can actually be scrubbed or removed from the atmosphere. This is perhaps cutting-edge technology, but there are already scientists working on this proposition. I would support additional funding to this critical area of science, with the hope of finding a means of removing large quantities of carbon from the atmosphere.

There can be no question that the federal government must act to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions now. Coal burning is neither clean, nor efficient, and is a form of energy that must be rapidly phased-out of this nation’s energy mix. Additionally, I support regulations that reduce industrial carbon emissions, and as importantly, vehicle emissions. It is high time that we start phasing out gas vehicles and start making hybrid or electric vehicles the standard for personal transportation. Such would have the dual benefit of reducing emissions and reducing our nation’s dependence on foreign oil.