The nexus of food, water and energy is an increasing concern as business and government leaders confront growing global population and burgeoning consumer classes in China and other developing countries. Feeding and hydrating 7 billion people at adequate levels is a challenge that will be heightened by growing energy demand and climate-driven droughts and floods. Is hydraulic fracturing smart in a world with rising water stress? How can innovation, technology and policy work together toward a clean and prosperous economy?
Major advances in American energy and transportation—from jet engines to interstate highways and nuclear power—have traditionally involved public-private partnerships. Renewable energy is now on the table, but given today’s political environment, the lights seem to be dimming on such collaborations. What are the challenges? And where are the bright spots?
President Obama’s economic stimulus, an $800 billion spending spree that Congress approved in 2009, remains front and center in the debate over what role government should play in steering the American economy. Was it an appropriate use of government funds to create jobs, rebuild infrastructure and advance clean technology, or was it a waste of public money that failed to deliver on its promises?
Physicist Richard Muller has challenged the science behind years of climate studies. Through his own analyses, he has now come to agree with many of the conclusions about global warming, but his views on the topic remain controversial. Following Muller’s June 21 interview at Climate One, Penn State University professor Michael E. Mann wrote a rebuttal to many of Muller’s claims.
For the first time in 30 years, the United States has licensed the construction of new nuclear reactors. Given a price tag of $10 billion per plant, the comparatively cheap cost of alternatives such as natural gas, and the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, the decision is fraught with controversy. Aside from these new reactors, the country must also decide what to do with its fleet of 104 aging nuclear facilities. Licenses for about 70 of them have been renewed and the others are pending or expected. If any one plant is taken off line, how would that electricity be replaced?
The EV industry is experiencing birthing pains, and manufacturers may be as confused as consumers. While sales of EVs are slowly rising, who are the early buyers? Do manufacturers understand how to market to them? And what role does VC and government funding play in advancing the industry?
Clean energy has boomed in recent years, but to guarantee its continued growth investors need stable, long-term policy support, three of the Bay Area’s leading energy journalists told a Climate One audience on February 3. The panel also warned consumers to brace themselves for higher energy prices, predicting that California drivers could be paying $5 per gallon for gas as early as this summer.