Saturday, April 5, 2008

Blue Planet Summit, Day 2 -- Getting Off Oil!

Read our first post at this blog and why we've started it.

Snapshots and paraphrases from Day 2 of the Blue Planet Summit...

James Woolsey (Vantage Point Venture Partners):
• Bin Laden's target point for oil is $200 per barrel.
• We're on the brink of a nuclear arms race between the Sunni and the Shia.
• We're all paying at the pump for the radical education that teaches young kids to become suicide bombers.
• (and from Day 1) -- the two major threats in this century are climate change and the hostility of a violent and wealthy radicalism out to destroy us.
• We must destroy the strategic value of oil, just as the advent of electrification and refrigeration once destroyed the strategic value of salt.

Dr. Stephen Schneider (Stanford University, Member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, winner of Nobel Prize):
• The preponderance of evidence says the earth is warming, and no one thing or new "finding" can disprove the preponderance of evidence.
• This is about risk management of a planetary life support system.
• Unless we act decisively, we'll continue on the path to a planetary sustainability train wreck.

Denis Hayes (Bullitt Foundation, national coordinator of first Earth Day):
• Government should be putting photovoltaics on every military barracks and every government building; as procurement increases, production costs go down.
• With the right set of policies in place, Hawaii could make the leap in 10 years to significantly reduce its dependence on oil and become a model for the world to emulate.

and too many other insightful comments by panelists to summarize in a short time. Near the end of the day, Summit participants were asked to vote by electronic ballot for the most important initiative Hawaii could undertake to reduce carbon's hold on the state. The results among the 80 or so participants:
• Solar Photovoltaic 25%
• Conservation 23%
• Solar Hot Water 19%
• Geothermal 10%
• OTEC 8%
• Wind 6%
• Wave 4%
• Other 2%
• Unassigned 3%

As an OTEC proponent, we see the challenge in these numbers, especially since it's likely that an even smaller percentage of the general population has a clue about ocean thermal energy conversion. Beyond these numbers, though, the Summit's participants seem united that Hawaii can reduce its severe vulnerability with sound policies and grassroots support for change.

Unchallenged at the Summit was the notion that Hawaii is more dependent on imported energy than any other state -- most of it oil. Where should we look for inspiration? Hands down, it's California, which was repeatedly cited as the leader in innovative responses to our deepening energy crisis.

Evidence Around Us

Aloha Airlines -- gone. ATA, which served Hawaii from several mainland markets -- gone. Hundreds of thousands of potential visitors to Hawaii -- gone. Did skyrocketing energy costs contribute to the carriers' demise? Of course.

Someone said during this Summit that Hawaii is the canary in the coal mine -- an early warning of what happens when energy dependence becomes lethal. Pieces of us are dying off right now, and to stop it, Hawaii is going to need unqualified commitments from all sectors of the state to Get Off Oil!

No comments: