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Monday, September 28, 2009

Rendell On Green

On Friday, I had the opportunity to listen to Pennsylvania Governor Rendell talk about Pennsylvania's green initiatives. The governor addressed the bloggers and NGO representatives stationed at the August Wilson Center during the G20.

He highly touted the state's economic investments in green technology companies from wind giant Gamesa to electric car manufacturer CT&T. These companies and others have generated 9,000 new jobs in Pennsylvania since Rendell has been Governor. The recurring theme in the August Wilson Center this weekend was that strong action would lead to great results. Governor Rendell himself said that investing in green technologies was a great way to create new jobs, keep money in Pennsylvania, and even maintain national security by not spending money on foreign oil. He feels that part of the reason Pennsylvania has withstood this recent recession so well is the number of green jobs in the state. As of 2007, Pennsylvania ranked 3rd in the country for green jobs, only trailing California and Texas - states with a 3x and 2x higher population respectively.

Yet Governor Rendell is still hanging onto the oxymoron of "Clean Coal." This technology may be feasible in 50 years, but "clean coal" is not going to help us now. Now, as Rendell's co-speaker Dr Kumi Naidoo, chair of the the Global Campaign for Climate Action, we are in a global crisis, and we need to focus on the proven alternative energy technologies. Through research right here at CMU, we have seen major breakthroughs in solar technology. Given as much money as would be necessary for "clean coal," it's hard to imagine there would be any hurdles to using a combination of solar and wind sources for all our power. The sun and the climate are precious commodities and tremendous assets. We must value them and use them.


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