Friday, March 22, 2013
Friday, September 07, 2012
Sunday, December 11, 2011
The Garden Island News of Kaua'i published the following on December 9, 2011.
The energy conference hosted by Kaua’i Economic Development Board this Tuesday made clear once again that Kaua’i can obtain the majority of its energy from sun, wind and water. The planned goal is to have 70% renewable energy production by 2030.
Kaua’i can do better than 70% renewable and do it much sooner for its electrical power. Goals of 50% renewable within five years (2017) and 90% renewable in eight years (2020) are readily achievable. There are great advantages in having shorter time horizons. People will save money sooner. Centralized solar voltaics and wind generated power are cheaper than the oil produced electrical power produced on Kaua’i which as everyone knows is by far the most costly in the nation. By having a more aggressive near term renewable goal, planning and installation of renewable energy must begin now, and not put off many years into the distant future. To meet either the 50 and 90% renewable goals, every year should have a sizable 10-12% annual target.
As a environmental scientist who has studied and lectured on climate change for many years, we have only a limited time, perhaps just a decade, to begin bringing our global warming greenhouse gases under control. The longer we delay environmental damage, such as to our sensitive coral reefs, will become irreversible. Because Kaua’i is blessed with abundant solar and wind resources, there is nothing stopping Kaua’i and the state from becoming the nation’s and world’s model for renewable energy. We can all recall that it was commitment to a powerful vision and persistent political will that got us to the moon in less than decade. We can do the same for renewable energy on Kauai.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
The magical Garden Island of Kauai is calling me again, this time for six months or more. One of the few places left on this earth where the natural beauty, tranquility, and people can come into perfect balance. You get up with the sun, pass by a dozen waterfalls, run barefoot on the beach, take a swim, crawl under an umbrella with the noon sun day beaming overhead, as a cool breeze blows. It is as close as humans get to nature's paradise. (Of course through meditation paradise can be found going inward....but that is a topic for another time).
Friday, July 09, 2010
To avoid future disasters, until reliable solutions are found and implemented, a moratorium on deep-ocean well drilling needs to remain in place. Blowout preventers are not always reliable, especially in deep waters. In sensitive artic ocean areas, the U.S., Canada, Norway, and Greenland require wells to have a relief well drilled simultaneously, rather than after the fact. Significant resources must also be immediately available for future accidents, such as tanker size skimmers, that can quickly recover large quantities of oil and reduce the need for toxic dispersants.
However, having just technical fixes to prevent future oil spills misses the most important lesson to be learned. Continuing our heavy use of oil and other fossil fuels is the wrong pathway. High risk wells are being drilled because the world is running out of oil. Our society and national interests are dominated by our need for oil that is now being used at a rate faster than it is being found. As a limited non-renewable fossil fuel, in a decade or two, oil will become even more difficult to find and even more expensive. Vast amounts of oil money will continue to go to nations that do not always share our interests.
Any nation that continues to rely on imported oil, as the U.S. does for transportation, will have its national security constantly under threat. This has led James Woolsey, former CIA director, to state that the U.S. must remove oil as a strategic national issue (http://www.alt-energy.info/oil-conservation/former-cia-director-james-woolsey-on-how-to-end-americas-addiction-to-oil/). He argues, as do many others, that we need to continue to increase mileage standards for automobiles; require cars to be made that can use other fuels besides gasoline; increase the manufacture and use of hybrid and fully electric cars; and convert trucks and buses to natural gas, which is abundant in our country.
Our nation must have a long-term energy policy that will move us away from our dependency on oil and other non-renewable fossil fuels. Climate change, due to fossil fuel usage, is already occurring and will continue to become more severe leading to agricultural impacts, more frequent floods, and intense hurricanes. There is a significant economic cost in waiting to reduce to fossil fuel usage and delaying renewable energy sources. Over 80% of our energy comes from fossil fuels, yet the science shows that we will need to reduce our carbon emissions by 80% in just 40 years to have a livable planet for future generations. Unless there is a strong political and societal commitment, similar to the 10 year moon shot program implemented in the 1960s, there will be more oil spills, climate change, and a lower quality of life for all. We have an opportunity to learn from the Gulf spill and we need to learn quickly.
Milton Clark, Ph.D.
President, Clark Environmental Consulting
Associate Professor of Environmental
and Occupational Health Sciences
University of Illinois School of Public Health
Monday, August 20, 2007
On August 10, 2007, Dr. Milton Clark presented a seminar "Moon Mission: Toward a Sustainable Future" at Worlds Nest, which outlines obstacles and solutions to key environmental problems. To download the presentation go to Peter White's website, www.icandosomething.com.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Taking Action on Global Warming (read the report in pdf format)