The Changing Energy Future

I was very fortunate to attend the Energy Innovation conference this week in DC – put on at the venerable National Press Club by ITIF and the Breakthrough Institute [kudos for this excellent effort, made available free of charge to probably 200 attendees from around the country]. Outstanding panels of top SMEs on this subject, from policy experts to scientists and even a few politicians attempting to find common ground on this urgent issue.  The good news? There are many alternative energy sources [read that not fossil fuels] already in existence and in use.  The experts predict there will be more that perhaps are today in the lab or not even that far along.  The less than great news: we’re not adopting them near as quickly as we should to capitalize on the many benefits available – lower costs, lower carbon, job creation, national security and stability [less dependence on foreign fuel sources] etc.  I was optimistic and frustrated at the same time.  Status quo industry lobbies and politics as usual keep us from charging ahead in what is a no-brainer if you get insight into the facts and realities – the need to shift from energy generation and consumption patterns of the 20th century is not an option, but a question of when and how.  That was something every one of these expert speakers – regardless of political philosophy – agreed on and was there to advocate.  Attending this event took me back to GFN’s Footprint Forum 2007 in Sienna, Italy, where I lead a workshop for scientists and policy people on why it’s helpful to use positive communication to talk about environmental issues that could otherwise scare the bejezzus out of people.  The conversation about our future as a planet and what we do with the resources we’ve got is amping up. It’s time to get up that bell curve to where average, ordinary people are getting on board and making changes to how they consume.

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