A “New Deal” for Energy

Here it is.  A comprehensive plan to revolutionize our dirty, wasteful energy inftrastructure.  The Post Carbon Institute’s proposal, “The Real New Deal,” calls for a massive investment in renewable energy.  The proposal acknowledges the need for fundamental, systematic change, not just clean power plants and fuel efficient cars.

The energy transition must not be limited to building wind turbines and solar panels. It must include the thorough redesign of our economic and societal infrastructure, which today is utterly dependent on cheap fossil fuels. It must address not only our transportation system and electricity grid, but also our food system and building stock.

The title of the institute’s report is a reference to President Roosevelt’s New Deal of the 1930s and 40s, massive government investment in infrastructure and jobs programs to help jump-start the global economy and pull the U.S. out of the Depression.

As President Obama prepares his own economic stimulus package, the Post Carbon Institute knows that what happened in the 1930s needs to happen again, with a focus on energy.

I think the Manhattan Project could just as easily serve as the historical model here.  Back in the 1940s we decided to create the atomic bomb, and we wanted it fast.  We poured resources into it until we got what we wanted.  We need that same concrete objective, that same sense of urgency, that same sharp focus on our goal, to get this done.  But this time, we need to act fast to preserve life, not to destroy it.

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