By Julio Friedmann
On good days, when I'm more optimistic about achieving our needs in climate and energy, I imagine that we as a country or globe will wake up and realize we need to clean our room (see last blog entry).
If so, we need a plan.
Many people discuss this undertaking as something akin to the Apollo project or the Manhattan project. I rather think those are the wrong metaphors. In both those other projects, there was only one client (the US government), the physics was fairly straightforward, and market forces didn't matter. In energy and climate, the situation is opposite. Everyone's a customer, the systems are complicated and non-linear, and all energy and environmental technology competes in the global market.
A better analogy may be the Marshall Plan, which rebuilt post-war Europe. It laid out goals over time and spent tons of money transforming systems in disrepair, with little immediate direct benefit to the US taxpayer. It was controversial, driven by a moral compass and some sobering economics. It required time, money, and focus.