Sunday, January 24, 2010

NCSE Conference : Thursday : Keynotes

The NCSE president Ambassador Richard Benedick gave an introduction. He "played a major role in global environmental affairs as chief U.S. negotiator and a principal architect of the historic Montreal Protocol on protection of the ozone layer." He's a career diplomat, which is apparently rare nowadays, and he has worked under many administrations, taking a lot of heat during the Reagan administration. He seemed like a pretty cool guy.

Following the introduction were some keynote addresses on "How Can We Get There From Here?"
Chad Holliday, chairman and CEO emeritus of DuPont, was a pretty good speaker and good at fielding questions from the audience. He coauthors the book, "Walking the Talk: The Business Case for Sustainable Development".

Navigation - Direction, Pace, Path
Prudence - Efficiency, Behavior, Electrification

DuPont held energy use flat while increasing production. He also recommended Nudge, the book, for creating demand.

At DuPont, they actually keep an internal measurement of value added/lb (I'm not sure if it's per pound of output or input).

He also recommended the book "Free Fall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the Global Economy" by Joe Stiglitz, economist and Nobel Prize recipient.

Holliday gave an alternative business model for utility companies to make the transition to solar power where utilities have the option to add capacity by retrofitting houses or installing solar panels instead of adding a coal plant.

He mentions the US Citizen's Network for Sustainable Development, and I noted that he sounds like a crazy person.

The book "Sustainability By Design" was brought up during the questions.

The Second Nature program is also brought up, and it's a program where colleges commit to being carbon neutral.

DuPont does not exactly support cap and trade, but it does believe in more accurate accounting of externalities. They would, however, prefer certainty over cap and trade.

The next speaker was Bill Spriggs, the Assistant Secretary to the US Department of Labor. He was not a great speaker, but he mentioned some programs such as $700 for Labor to design programs for green jobs, and they recently finished contracting all that money. Work Force Investment Act, State-based energy programs, local businesses and unions. A bigger problem is structural unemployment, which are jobs that are not coming back.

The last speech was given by Lisa Johnson, secretary of the EPA. It was noted that she is a career EPA employee. She talked about how science needs to be more important than politics so that the EPA can regain some credibility.

1. a green economy is a strong economy
2. the moment compels us
3. clean energy is the next big industry
4. we need positive externalities to our economic activity

In 2001, the US had a plan for increasing domestic energy supply (oil) to lower energy prices, but it did not work. We need to remember this.

Her speech was mainly an invigorating one.

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