I mentioned while the Aspen Ideas Festival was underway that I'd found a session with Hal Harvey, of Energy Innovation, particularly enlightening. The full hour-long video has just gone online, and you can see it below.
After a brief stage-business intro from me, the first 15 minutes or so are Harvey presenting an overview of how to think about carbon, coal, natural gas, electric grids, extreme weather, and other sources of problems and possibilities. The rest is our discussion, and questions from the audience.
I encourage you to see the first part. In fact I hope you'll want to see the whole session -- but if pressed you could skip to, say, time 43:00 to hear why the Montreal Protocol (to preserve the world's ozone later) worked and other efforts haven't, and the related point of why Moore's Law does not apply to energy problems. Just after that is a discussion is whether there is anything that individuals can usefully do if they are concerned about climate issues. He explains the concepts of the "green citizen" vs. the "green consumer," in a clarifying way. Starting around time 53:00 Harvey gives a very useful two-minute overview on the ups and downs of nuclear power. Elsewhere you'll hear him sizing up coal, natural gas, and biofuels.
I found the session worth participating in, and hope you will find it worth watching. Also, I mention around time 55:00 the amazing abundance of wind-power turbines you see in eastern Colorado, particularly noticeable since there are so many fewer in neighboring Nebraska. Here is a minor sample, from a few days before this talk with Harvey.
James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. He and his wife, Deborah Fallows, are the authors of the new book Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America, which has been a New York Times best seller and is the basis of a forthcoming HBO documentary.