Lighting the Way — a few comments

Last post included about half the executive Summary of the new InterAcademy Council recommendations for our energy future. I tried to eliminate what was less important, but couldn’t find much, hence the long post.

This report covers much the same area as other reports, but has a few differences.

Responsibilities are assigned to multi-national organizations, governments, NGOs and the private sector.

Needed actions frequently include the need for the media to help understand the enormity of problems, or the role of solutions. Frequently the media tell us of a new report, but do not follow up. Most of us don’t have anywhere near enough information to make educated decisions. We can let the media know we need better and more explanations, closer to page 1.

Conclusion 1: emphasis on the need to provide energy to the poor. Not to be overlooked while we in the rich world talk about the need for all of us to cut back.

Conclusion 3: Coal will continue to play a large role in the world’s energy mix. Research and development of carbon capture and storage technology must be accelerated to reduce coal’s impact. I include this not because this is not a routine part of energy policy reports, but because much of the public hears that we can eliminate coal power soon.

Needed action for Conclusion 5:

Given the controversy over the future of nuclear power worldwide, the United Nations should commission—as soon as possible—a transparent and objective re-examination of the issues that surround nuclear power and their potential solutions. It is essential that the general public be informed about the outcome of this re-examination.

Bruce Alberts, when he left National Academy of Sciences, listed this as one of the questions Congress did not ask. A good review will help facilitate informed discussion.

What impressed you most about Lighting the Way? What differences strike you between reports at this level and what the public is hearing?

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