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Sam Edmondson's blog

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a must-read LA Times articlethat explores the dramatic effects of climate disruption on Australia. In response to these worsening conditions, seven Australian climate scientists sent a letter to the owners of every coal-fired power plant in Australia. The letter carries a blunt message: no new coal-fired power plants, unless they are zero-emissions…and operated by unicorns (ok, I added the unicorn part).

But an outright ban on new coal-fired power plants isn't enough, as the authors of the letter indicate:

Genuine action on climate change will mean that coal-fired power stations cease to operate in the near future. [Read the whole letter]

As noted in both the letter and the aforementioned LA Times article, coal-fired power plants supply more than 80% of Australia’s electricity (compared to around 50% in the United States). Replacing coal-fired power in Australia and here at home with clean and safe energy sources will require a massive, coordinated (and very necessary) effort. But abandoning the dirty fuels of the past will help us ensure that our future is filled with opportunities.

A who's who of politicians, scientists, environmental and labor leaders, and entrepreneurs met yesterday to discuss ways to make widespread use of clean energy a reality, one week after President Obama committed substantial government spending to renewable energy and energy efficiency with the stroke of his pen.

The panel -- sponsored by the Center for American Progress Action Fund -- included Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Al Gore, Van Jones and many others. Over the morning's course, they explored the challenges associated with building new infrastructure to deliver clean, affordable energy to our homes and businesses as well as strategies to diminish our nation's thirst for oil.

Though the logistics of moving this issue forward are complicated, moderator Timothy Wirth rightly remarked that we can't just "admire the problem."

Video of the event is worth a view.

I happened to be in Las Vegas during the final days of the election. It was a fitting location to watch the most historic election of my lifetime conclude with an outcome that many people I know felt was improbable less than a year ago. Vegas is, after all, a city familiar with difficult odds, and even the most seasoned Vegas veteran might have hesitated to wager on Senator Obama's.

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