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Bill Clinton: We Must Embrace Clean Energy or We Will “End Vast Prospects of Civilization for Our Grandchildren”
Joe Romm, 23 Feb 09
Article Photo

I am here liveblogging the clean energy and green grid summit sponsored by the Center for American Progress Action Fund — see Watch Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Steven Chu, John Podesta on how to build a smart, green grid — 10 am EST Monday.

UPDATE: It was very heartening to hear so many top leaders and opinionmakers who are so knowledgeable about and committed to action on clean energy. And who get the need to focus on transmission.

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) decried the $500 billion in imported oil last year.

Former Senator Tim Wirth (the moderator): Why didn’t we get action earlier?

Bill Clinton: “We didn’t have the votes before.”

Clinton said we had to act or we would “End vast prospects of civilization for our grandchildren” (see “How likely is it that Global Warming will destroy human civilization within the next century?“).

He urged everyone: “Don’t undersell efficiency.” He noted we create 6,000 jobs per billion dollars spent on efficiency, retrofits.

But with using that money to fund the SBA loan guarantee we could achieve 10 to 20 times the impact (see "A blueprint for greening small businesses and SBA").

Then former VP Al Gore spoke:
Al Gore: “My reading of the science over the past 20 years,” the IPCC reports “they always come out with ranges … best cases, worst cases” but when they look years later, it is always at or near worst level.

There are feedbacks in this system. The tundra has as much carbon as has been released to date.

On oil prices/peak oil: “This roller coaster is headed for a crash and we’re headed for a crash.”

We must have a price on carbon and renewable energy standard.

UPDATE — Van Jones: “Green stimulus dollars are the most fiscally conservative thing we have ever done.”

They do “triple time.” Put people to work, lower energy bills, take on global warming.

“We can fight pollution and poverty at the same time.”

We need to get kids in the inner city to “Put down hand guns and pick up caulking guns.”

Steven Chu: I hope you heard his remarks — very solid, very knowledgeable on clean energy, transmission issues.

“All the news on climate in the past five years has essentially been bad news.”

“We’ve got to start acting.”

This piece originally appeared on Joe Romm's blog, Climate Progress: An insider's view of climate science, politics and solutions.

Image credit: Flickr/Lollie-Pop, CC License.

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