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Get off fossil fuels by 2018. That’s Gore’s completely unrealistic charge to our nation.

Here’s more…

Mr. Gore called for the kind of concerted national effort that enabled Americans to walk on the moon 39 years ago this month, just eight years after President John F. Kennedy famously embraced that goal. He said the goal of producing all of the nation’s electricity from “renewable energy and truly clean, carbon-free sources” within 10 years is not some farfetched vision, although he said it would require fundamental changes in political thinking and personal expectations.

“This goal is achievable, affordable and transformative,” Mr. Gore said in remarks prepared for the conference. “It represents a challenge to all Americans, in every walk of life — to our political leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, and to every citizen.”

And do note how Obama doesn’t endorse Gore’s explicit challenge, but he definitely agrees with the long term spirit of it…as do I…

For decades, Al Gore has challenged the skeptics in Washington on climate change and awakened the conscience of a nation to the urgency of this threat. I strongly agree with Vice President Gore that we cannot drill our way to energy independence, but must fast-track investments in renewable sources of energy like solar power, wind power and advanced biofuels, and those are the investments I will make as President. It’s a strategy that will create millions of new jobs that pay well and cannot be outsourced, and one that will leave our children a world that is cleaner and safer.

Again, I’m all for weening ourselves completely off of fossil fuels, but Gore is out of his mind with a 10 year time table. The gasoline infrastructure switchover alone would take a decade at least. Unless the government mandates that all infrastructure and autos need to support hydrogen fuel cell tech. But then we’d have to subsidize the HELL out of it. Think that’ll happen? Not unless the numbers make sense and oil hits $400 a barrel. Then you may be able to convince the nation…maybe.

In short, it may be sexy to call for a massive amount of change so quickly, but the reality puts the lie to it and Gore is well aware I’m sure.

In any event, nice speech Al.

  • kranky kritter

    I don’t think most folks disagree with the long-term spirit of it.

    But if there’s one thing I’d like to see LESS of from Obama, its unrealistic stuff. Optimism is fine. Hope is fine. But on the bottom line, it’s ambitious but realistic assessments and plans by knowledgeable hard-working folks that really get things done.

    I look at it like shooting a cannon. Projectile motion is governed by the idea that you fire at a 45 degree angle for maximum distance. Aim too high or too low and you don’t get as far. It’s a question of finding the balance of mechanics governed by multiple variables.

    So to me it doesn’t matter who the politician in question is…if you are trying to set yourself up as a pie-in-the-sky jesus, like Gore, you are showing me your ignorance. At some point, you need to show me you understand ALL the intricacies and the challenges.

    One of the most favorite of all politicians’ pastimes is to see a bunch of folks heading one way,. and you grab a pole. run to the front, and yell “parade!” So on the environment, with gas at 4 bucks per gallon, we’re certain to be treated to a battle between the remaining candidates as they each attempt to prove that they are more strongly in favor of protecting the environment than the other guy.

    Not to mention that unlike the other guy, they can make all these things happen without doubling the price of fuel again or taxing us all into oblivion. Caveat emptor, folks.

  • http://stubbornfacts.us Simon

    Buried lede: it “is not some farfetched vision, although he said it would require fundamental changes in political thinking and personal expectations.” This is rather like saying that the French Revolution required some “fundamental changes in political thinking and personal expectations” for the royal family.

  • http://across-the-grain.com BenG

    Seeing ‘Space Race’ and and Gore’s energy challenge in the same post brings one of Bush’s speeches from early in his first term to mind.

    Remember his ‘bold’ challenge to inspire the scientific world to send a manned space mission to Mars in the near future? I was puzzled why that was such an important goal to a president who didn’t strike me as much of a visionary – as somebody once said, the vision thing!

    Now I agree that rushing into this energy conversion thing isn’t gonna get it done correctly, just throwing billions down a wishing well won’t get it done. Just makes me wonder what a different world it might have been if Gore’s vision thing would’ve began 8 years sooner!

  • kreiz

    Proof positive that Al’s spending way too much time in the ozone.

  • mdgeorge

    I didn’t read the whole speech, so I might be wrong, but I think Gore was advocating 100% renewable electricity generation, not power consumption. Still a far-reaching goal, but close enough to the realm of possibility to be worth reaching for.

    I found this feasibility analysis pretty thorough and convincing:
    http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2008/7/17/142724/157

  • http://www.theglitteringeye.com Dave Schuler

    I didn’t read the whole speech, so I might be wrong, but I think Gore was advocating 100% renewable electricity generation, not power consumption.

    Unfortunately, Vice President Gore muddles his own message by both complaining about dependence on imported oil and complaining about using fossil fuels to generate energy, proposing a program to end only the latter in ten years.

    What’s missing from his plan is that, with the exception of nuclear power, his other carbon-free approaches (solar, wind, etc.) suffer from the defect of either requiring scientific breakthroughs and enormous capital investment or mass migration to move the energy to where the people are or vice versa.

  • fletch

    Again, I’m all for weening ourselves completely off of fossil fuels, but Gore is out of his mind with a 10 year time table.

    Please concentrate on the true nature of Gore’s stupidity. He said, “…all of the nation’s electricity from “renewable energy and truly clean, carbon-free sources”- within ten years.

    Meanwhile, “gasoline”, “diesel” and/or “nat gas vehicles” are not mentioned at all!

    Of couse, you’ll still need to quickly replace all of the 30+ “coal-fired” utility plants here in Ohio that provide for 80% of the current demand for electric power- call it a minimum of $3 trillion for “Ohio” to be “carbon-free” in 2020… while total currently projected state spending over the same 12 year period is $2.5 trillion-(+/- $500,000,000,000)…
    I’m sure it will be “affordable” if we can just raise the cigarette tax again.

  • http://stubbornfacts.us/ Tully

    The quick reality check is this: if we increased our current available solar and wind and geothermal by 1000% in those ten years (and we can’t) we’d still only need to reduce our energy usage by 90% to be carbon-free.

    Yeah, right. Gore’s insane.

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