Thursday 15 October 2009

XXIII ... getting there

(with a little help from my friends)
Up, Down.

"The naysayers, the folks who would pretend that this is not an issue, they are being marginalized. But I think it's important to understand that the closer we get, the harder the opposition will fight and the more we'll hear from those whose interest or ideology run counter to the much needed action that we're engaged in. There are those who will suggest that moving toward clean energy will destroy our economy -- when it's the system we currently have that endangers our prosperity and prevents us from creating millions of new jobs. There are going to be those who cynically claim -- make cynical claims that contradict the overwhelming scientific evidence when it comes to climate change, claims whose only purpose is to defeat or delay the change that we know is necessary."
     Barack Obama, October 23, 2009, MIT.

There is a crack, a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in.
     Leonard Cohen, Anthem, 1992.

André Dahmer Malvados Cia Estadual de Lixo
State Garbage Company
Why the long face Mirandinha?
You know the feeling when you are not working at what you like?
Don't complain about being a garbageman, remember your last job ...
A dark period, I will never blog again.

Capilla de la Luz / The Church of Light, Tadao Ando, Osaka, Japan:
Capilla de la Luz Tadao Ando OsakaCapilla de la Luz Tadao Ando OsakaCapilla de la Luz Tadao Ando Osaka

... and speaking of the absence of the cross being the cross ... here's Sarah Silverman:

Sell the Vatican! Feed the World! a-and you will get All the Pussy.


Courtney LoveCourtney LoveCourtney LoveCourtney LoveCourtney Love? who knows? could be Scarlett Johansson, any one of dozens ... in her 40s now, if that's her she is skinnier than I expected ... whatever ... Pope won't likely mind :-)

positive vibrations coming to me over the internet and the newspapers as I read the tea leaves between the lines, entrails spread in the dust ... mad as a hatter (maybe it was all that xylene I sniffed as a teenager?)

anyway, yeah ... positive vibes, I'm just gonna post one for now, from the NYT, the notion that we can do quite a bit without a great-grandson-of-Kyoto, and of course any sort of gradualism appeals to the k-k-Canadian in me :-) ... well, ok, two, all the pundit jizz that's fit to print by the head queen bee troll-ette at the Globe & Mail, the interesting part of that exercise (for me) was to look at the comments and realize that they were either knee-jerk deniers with incomplete analogies who couldn't hardly spell, or more-or-less thoughtful criticisms, maybe I will put the comments up later on, now, if we could just get an IQ requirement for voting ... let me bask in this positive glow for a few more minutes :-)

oh well, didn't pan out, the deniers are on it like yellowjackets at a picnic ... like flies on shit, diehards, and the diehards even have a quite credible Quixote (credible as Quixote mind, not actually credible) in Rex Murphy, you can hear the market wankers or spankers or whatever they are clapping all the way to the ... bank I guess, hwerever they go, ai ai ai ... but Sarah sure did get me laffin' this morning and that's enough.

Jubilate Deo

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.

Serve the Lord with gladness: Come before his presence with singing.

Know ye that the Lord he is God: It is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, And into his courts with praise: Be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; And his truth endureth to all generations.

               Psalm 100.

1. By Degrees - Curbing Emissions by Sealing Gas Leaks, Andrew Revkin & Clifford Krauss, October 14 2009.
     1a. Natural Gas STAR Program, EPA.
     1b. Methane to Markets, EPA Partnership.
2. Why people are chilled by warming, Margaret Wente, Oct 14 2009.
     2a. Comments.
3. Michael Ignatieff should think outside the green box, Rex Murphy, Oct 19 2009.
     3a. Comments.

4. Remarks by the President Challenging Americans to Lead the Global Economy in Clean Energy, Barack Obama, Oct. 23 2009.
     4a. Energy Technology Speech MIT 10 23 09 Part 1, YouTube.
     4b. Energy Technology Speech MIT 10 23 09 Part 2, YouTube.
     4c. Energy Technology Speech MIT 10 23 09 Part 3, YouTube.

By Degrees - Curbing Emissions by Sealing Gas Leaks, Andrew Revkin & Clifford Krauss, October 14 2009.

To the naked eye, there was nothing to be seen at a natural gas well in eastern Texas but beige pipes and tanks baking in the sun.

But in the viewfinder of Terry Gosney’s infrared camera, three black plumes of gas gushed through leaks that were otherwise invisible.

“Holy smoke, it’s blowing like mad,” said Mr. Gosney, an environmental field coordinator for EnCana, the Canadian gas producer that operates the year-old well near Franklin, Tex. “It does look nasty.”

Within a few days the leaks had been sealed by workers.

Efforts like EnCana’s save energy and money. Yet they are also a cheap, effective way of blunting climate change that could potentially be replicated thousands of times over, from Wyoming to Siberia, energy experts say. Natural gas consists almost entirely of methane, a potent heat-trapping gas that scientists say accounts for as much as a third of the human contribution to global warming.

“This for me is an absolute no-brainer, even more so than putting in those compact fluorescent bulbs in your house,” said Al Armendariz, an engineer at Southern Methodist University who studies pollutants from oil and gas fields.

Acting quickly to stanch the loss of methane could substantially cut warming in the short run, even as countries tackle the tougher challenge of cutting the dominant greenhouse emission, carbon dioxide, studies by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggest.

Unlike carbon dioxide, which can remain in the atmosphere a century or more once released, methane persists in the air for about 10 years. So aggressively reining in emissions now would mean that far less of the gas would be warming the earth in a decade or so.

Methane is also a valuable target because while it is far rarer and more fleeting than carbon dioxide, ton for ton, it traps 25 times as much heat, researchers say.

Yet while federal and international programs have encouraged companies to seek and curb methane emissions from gas and oil wells, pipelines and tanks, aggressive efforts like EnCana’s are still far from the industry norm.

As a result, some three trillion cubic feet of methane leak into the air every year, with Russia and the United States the leading sources, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s official estimate. (This amount has the warming power of emissions from over half the coal plants in the United States.) And government scientists and industry officials caution that the real figure is almost certainly higher.

Unless monitoring is greatly expanded, they say, such emissions could soar as global production of natural gas increases over the next few decades.

The Energy Department projects that gas production could rise nearly 50 percent over the next 20 years as companies race to discover and tap new sources. In the United States, 4,000 miles of new pipeline was laid last year alone.

But the industry has been largely resistant to an aggressive cleanup.

The Bush administration, which opposed mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions, expanded an existing voluntary domestic program for capturing methane emissions and began a related international program — with both aimed at promoting profitable ways for businesses to cut methane emissions as a relatively easy first step to combat climate change.

In April the Obama administration signaled that it could adopt rules requiring the biggest American companies to report all of their greenhouse gas emissions. Oil and gas industry groups countered that the cost and complexity of dealing with some 700,000 wells were too great.

In September the E.P.A. announced that the obligatory reporting would begin in 2011 but that it excluded oil and gas operations, at least for the time being. (Agency officials say they plan to issue rules for oil and gas by late next year.)

Some scientists reject the industry arguments. “Further delay on finding and stopping such releases would be irresponsible, given the financial and environmental benefits,” said F. Sherwood Rowland, a Nobel laureate in chemistry at the University of California, Irvine.

Internationally, the amount of methane escaping from gas and oil operations can be only crudely gauged. But in 2006 the E.P.A. estimated that Russia, the world’s largest gas producer, ranked highest, with 427 billion cubic feet of methane escaping annually, followed by the United States at 346 billion, Ukraine at 225 billion and Mexico at 191 billion.

Reflecting the uncertainty in such estimates, Gazprom, Russia’s giant state gas monopoly, estimated its annual emissions at half that figure last year.

An E.P.A. review of methane emissions from gas wells in the United States strongly implies that all of these figures may be too low. In its analysis, the E.P.A. concluded that the amount emitted by routine operations at gas wells — not including leaks like those seen near Franklin — is 12 times the agency’s longtime estimate of nine billion cubic feet. In heat-trapping potential, that new estimate equals the carbon dioxide emitted annually by eight million cars.

In the routine operations, great yet invisible plumes of gas enter the atmosphere when new wells are activated, old wells are invigorated to boost gas flows and wells are purged of fluids by letting out cough-like bursts of gas.

In many gas fields, said Roger Fernandez, a senior methane expert at the E.P.A., fluid-clogged wells are still purged the old-fashioned way, by opening valves or using outdated equipment in ways that release a misty burst of gas directly into the air.

For the E.P.A. and environmental scientists, the challenge is convincing gas and oil producers here and abroad that efforts to avoid such releases often more than pay for themselves.

The use of infrared cameras is expanding as word spreads of the payoff in saved gas, said Ben Shepperd, executive vice president of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association, which represents 1,200 companies in the oil and gas business around West Texas.

“We would like to see more people doing it,” he said. “People are very surprised when they shoot their equipment with these cameras and they see that there are releases in places they wouldn’t have expected.”

The benefits are there not only for gas producers but also for companies handling oil. Thousands of oil storage tanks emit plumes of methane and other gases, said Larry S. Richards, the president of Hy-Bon Engineering in Midland, Tex., which is using infrared cameras to survey storage tanks in 29 countries and sells systems that capture the gas.

A clearer view of the worst methane emissions could come next year, when Japan plans to start releasing data from Gosat, a satellite that began orbiting the Earth in January. It may be able to identify the top hot spots within a few miles.

That may increase pressure on countries with particularly large leaks.

As the biggest methane emitter, Russia has begun seeking high-tech solutions. In April, for example, Gazprom, the Russian Defense Ministry and an Israeli aerospace company began discussing the potential use of miniature remotely piloted helicopters to monitor pipelines for leaks.

But gadgets alone will not halt the vast exhalation of methane from Russia, environmentalists say. There is some hope that a successor to the 1997 Kyoto climate change pact will include more incentives for money to flow to Russian methane-reduction projects.

Western companies that have captured methane point out the money that is often to be made by doing so.

Starting around 2000, BP began introducing methane-catching techniques at 2,300 well sites in New Mexico. At well after well, gas that would have otherwise escaped now flows through meters that field crews affectionately call the “cash register.”

Among other actions, BP engineers have fine-tuned a system for purging fluids that can stop up wells. The process uses the pressure of gas in the well to periodically raise a plunger through the vertical well pipe. This removes the liquids but typically allows gas to escape.

The new computerized process, which BP calls smart automation, tracks well pressure and other conditions to more precisely time the plunger cycles in ways that avoid gas emissions. From 2000 to 2004, emissions from BP wells in the region dropped 50 percent, the company says. By 2007, they had essentially ended.

On average, installing the systems has cost about $11,000 per well, but they have returned three times that investment, said Reid Smith, an environmental adviser for BP working on the project.

“We spend a lot of money to get gas to the surface,” Mr. Smith said. “It makes a huge amount of sense to get all of it through the sales meter.”

Why people are chilled by warming, Margaret Wente, Oct 14 2009.

The apocalyptic language of environmentalists doesn't go down well with the public

Tim Flannery, the well-known Australian environmentalist, was on CBC Radio the other day to issue more alarms about global warming. He was more pessimistic than ever. “It's now or never,” he said. “We have about 20 years to address climate change or else our entire future is in jeopardy.” He painted an apocalyptic picture of drought, flooding, famine and war.

But global warming – or rather, the massive action demanded to address it – has become a tougher sell. First came the financial crash. Now, there's another problem. Average global temperatures plateaued in 1998, and haven't gone up since. Climate scientists explain that this pause doesn't change long-term warming trends, and will probably end soon. Still, it's hard to instill a sense of urgency when warming's been on hold for a decade.

A poll of urban Canadians conducted by Ipsos Reid last month found global warming is far down the list of people's concerns, somewhere below crime, health care, taxes, municipal spending, transportation and the economy. Not only that, but 41 per cent of respondents said the threat of global warming has been “overblown and exaggerated.” (This view is prevalent among middle-aged men, and in the energy-fuelled West.) In an Ipsos Reid survey last spring, 45 per cent of Canadians said “serious action on climate change should wait until the recession is behind us.”

An international survey of 11 nations, co-sponsored by environmental groups, found that fewer than half of those surveyed (47 per cent) were prepared to make personal lifestyle changes to reduce carbon emissions, down from 58 per cent before the crash. Most people said their governments should be doing more, but only 27 per cent wanted them to participate in Kyoto-style international agreements. Only one in five said they were willing to spend extra money to fight global warming.

Why are people cooling on warming? One reason is surely the apocalyptic language of Mr. Flannery and others. When they say we are doomed unless we radically change our way of life by the end of next week, people figure the problem is exaggerated – or else far too big to fix. They're being “stunned into inaction,” said Nigel Winser of Earthwatch. And when the World Bank announces that the developed countries must start transferring $100-billion a yearto developing countries so they can cope with climate change, what are we supposed to think? Who believes that's about to happen?

Simple human psychology is another factor. Unlike oil-soaked ducks or tailings ponds, you can't see global warming. Its bad impacts are all far in the future, and there's not yet any tangible evidence that something bad is going to happen. People find it hard to react to invisible, distant threats. Even when they're confronted with a real near-term threat – such as floods, or forest fires – they continue to build houses in flood and forest-fire zones.

People are also confused and skeptical about solutions. They don't see how green taxes or carbon trading will reduce global warming. That skepticism helped to sink the hapless Stéphane Dion – and it's hurting other politicians, too. In Britain, there is a widespread revolt against green taxes. In Australia, an opposition coalition has blocked the labour government's much-touted emissions trading scheme because of worries that it will be too costly to both individuals and the economy. On top of that, a new book on global warming, Ian Plimer's Heaven and Earth , has become a popular Australian bestseller. It argues that man-made global warming is a dangerous fiction with no basis in scientific fact.

The CBC's interviewer didn't raise any of these practical issues with Mr. Flannery, who went on to blast the Canadian government for its “position of almost studied indifference.” Instead, she expressed puzzlement about the “disconnect” between the sense of urgency among climate scientists and the lamentable lack of political will to tackle climate change. But it's no puzzle, really. The government has just been reading the polls.

Michael Ignatieff should think outside the green box, Rex Murphy, Oct 19 2009.

Following the global-warming herd doesn't show courage – quite the opposite, in fact

It's rather daring that Michael Ignatieff is putting “green policy” at the centre of his party's pitch during the next election, whenever that longed-for bliss occurs. Daring, for the obvious reason that it was Stéphane Dion's “green shift” – purest idealism built on a mud field of impenetrable prose – that so wounded his predecessor in the last election.

It's daring for another reason, too. I do not know if Mr. Ignatieff visits the BBC News website these days. He was once an ornament of that venerated service, so perhaps he does. He may read there an interesting article on the precious topic of global warming. The BBC has been very friendly and supportive of AGW – so-called man-made (anthropogenic) global warming – and it is therefore a little surprising for those of us who follow the fortunes of the crusade to see this headline on a BBC story: What Happened to Global Warming?

It is not a headline that will please the pious. “Rank heresy,” I hear some of them sniff. Nor will they be pleased with the body of the story, which proceeds to offer, in this the Advent period of the great Copenhagen global warming conventicle, a highly inconvenient truth: “For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures. And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise. So what on Earth is going on?”

Carbon dioxide has increased, temperatures have not: The models did not predict that incongruity. This is, or may be, the church of global warming's Galileo moment – when observation of what is happening trumps the gloomy choir of consensus on what may.

Galileo didn't work from consensus. Those who opposed and persecuted him worked on the consensus of centuries – that the Earth was the centre of the universe. The consensus multitude who tormented him are now a byword for folly and ignorance.

The BBC story makes many more interesting points that Mr. Ignatieff should read before he chains himself to another Liberal platform built around a response to global warming. Not least is the observation “that we may indeed be in a period of cooling worldwide temperatures that could last another 10-20 years.” But let's jump to the last paragraph.

That paragraph blisters with the heresy of heresies: “One thing is for sure. It seems the debate about what is causing global warming is far from over.” Is this possible in 2009? The debate is not over! I picture Al Gore reaching for the holy Evian water and loosing a jeremiad: “Out, apostates! By my hemp underwear, and in the name of Kyoto and the IPCC, by the heel and toe of the carbon footprint, I declare thee excommunicate and anathema. In the name of bicycle paths, twisty bulbs, windmills and slow-flush toilets, carbon offsets and compost heaps, I declare the BBC heretical.” Or something like that.

The BBC is not the only voice showing sprigs and shoots of independent thinking on global warming. From Ian Plimer, the Australian scientist, to Canada's Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, brave men who debunked the infamous “hockey stick” graph, there are minds outside the herd.

There are many warning that the great rush to fix the planet, and re-engineer its economy in the middle of a huge recession, on the basis of incomplete science and vastly overblown advocacy from the world's swarm of environmental lobbyists, NGOs, foundations, action groups, Greenpeace acrobats and UN politicians, may be terribly ill-advised. For those with eyes to see, and ears to hear, there have been throughout this whole global warming enterprise serious and well-informed minds asking for a second look, proposing alternative explanations, or qualifications to the idea that man-made CO2 is the sole or main driver of an impending apocalypse.

There are intellectual bubbles as often as there are economic ones. Y2K was a computer hysteria that cost billions. We even had, 30 plus years ago, a mini-bubble of “global cooling” anxiety. These are not hospitable grounds for a national party, in opposition, with a new leader, on which to build a platform for a coming election. A little intellectual hardihood on Mr. Ignatieff's part, a little resistance to the cries of doom coming from the overheated zealots of the global warming consensus, would signal a streak of courage in his leadership.

Throwing the word “green” around, or building a national policy on its vague and trendy seductiveness is an escape from thinking, rather than an exercise in it. It is a genuflection to politically correct conventional wisdom. A little intellectual and political boldness would do Mr. Ignatieff a world of good right now, and right now is when he needs it most.

Remarks by the President Challenging Americans to Lead the Global Economy in Clean Energy, Barack Obama, Oct. 23 2009.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Boston, Massachusetts

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Please, have a seat. Thank you. Thank you, MIT. I am -- I am hugely honored to be here. It's always been a dream of mine to visit the most prestigious school in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Hold on a second -- certainly the most prestigious school in this part of Cambridge, Massachusetts. And I'll probably be here for a while -- I understand a bunch of engineering students put my motorcade on top of Building 10.

This tells you something about MIT -- everybody hands out periodic tables. What's up with that?

I want I want to thank all of you for the warm welcome and for the work all of you are doing to generate and test new ideas that hold so much promise for our economy and for our lives. And in particular, I want to thank two outstanding MIT professors, Eric Lander, a person you just heard from, Ernie Moniz, for their service on my council of advisors on science and technology. And they have been hugely helpful to us already on looking at, for example, how the federal government can most effectively respond to the threat of the H1N1 virus. So I'm very grateful to them.

We've got some other special guests here I just want to acknowledge very briefly. First of all, my great friend and a champion of science and technology here in the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts, my friend Deval Patrick is here. Our Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray is here. Attorney General Martha Coakley is here. Auditor of the Commonwealth, Joe DeNucci is here. The Mayor of the great City of Cambridge, Denise Simmons is in the house. The Mayor of Boston, Tom Menino, is not here, but he met me at the airport and he is doing great; he sends best wishes.

Somebody who really has been an all-star in Capitol Hill over the last 20 years, but certainly over the last year, on a whole range of issues -- everything from Afghanistan to clean energy -- a great friend, John Kerry. Please give John Kerry a round of applause.

And a wonderful member of Congress -- I believe this is your district, is that correct, Mike? Mike Capuano. Please give Mike a big round of applause.

Now, Dr. Moniz is also the Director of MIT's Energy Initiative, called MITEI. And he and President Hockfield just showed me some of the extraordinary energy research being conducted at this institute: windows that generate electricity by directing light to solar cells; light-weight, high-power batteries that aren't built, but are grown -- that was neat stuff; engineering viruses to create -- to create batteries; more efficient lighting systems that rely on nanotechnology; innovative engineering that will make it possible for offshore wind power plants to deliver electricity even when the air is still.

And it's a reminder that all of you are heirs to a legacy of innovation -- not just here but across America -- that has improved our health and our wellbeing and helped us achieve unparalleled prosperity. I was telling John and Deval on the ride over here, you just get excited being here and seeing these extraordinary young people and the extraordinary leadership of Professor Hockfield because it taps into something essential about America -- it's the legacy of daring men and women who put their talents and their efforts into the pursuit of discovery. And it's the legacy of a nation that supported those intrepid few willing to take risks on an idea that might fail -- but might also change the world.

Even in the darkest of times this nation has seen, it has always sought a brighter horizon. Think about it. In the middle of the Civil War, President Lincoln designated a system of land grant colleges, including MIT, which helped open the doors of higher education to millions of people. A year -- a full year before the end of World War II, President Roosevelt signed the GI Bill which helped unleash a wave of strong and broadly shared economic growth. And after the Soviet launch of Sputnik, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth, the United States went about winning the Space Race by investing in science and technology, leading not only to small steps on the moon but also to tremendous economic benefits here on Earth.

So the truth is, we have always been about innovation, we have always been about discovery. That's in our DNA. The truth is we also face more complex challenges than generations past. A medical system that holds the promise of unlocking new cures is attached to a health care system that has the potential to bankrupt families and businesses and our government. A global marketplace that links the trader on Wall Street to the homeowner on Main Street to the factory worker in China -- an economy in which we all share opportunity is also an economy in which we all share crisis. We face threats to our security that seek -- there are threats to our security that are based on those who would seek to exploit the very interconnectedness and openness that's so essential to our prosperity. The system of energy that powers our economy also undermines our security and endangers our planet.

Now, while the challenges today are different, we have to draw on the same spirit of innovation that's always been central to our success. And that's especially true when it comes to energy. There may be plenty of room for debate as to how we transition from fossil fuels to renewable fuels -- we all understand there's no silver bullet to do it. There's going to be a lot of debate about how we move from an economy that's importing oil to one that's exporting clean energy technology; how we harness the innovative potential on display here at MIT to create millions of new jobs; and how we will lead the world to prevent the worst consequences of climate change. There are going to be all sorts of debates, both in the laboratory and on Capitol Hill. But there's no question that we must do all these things.

Countries on every corner of this Earth now recognize that energy supplies are growing scarcer, energy demands are growing larger, and rising energy use imperils the planet we will leave to future generations. And that's why the world is now engaged in a peaceful competition to determine the technologies that will power the 21st century. From China to India, from Japan to Germany, nations everywhere are racing to develop new ways to producing and use energy. The nation that wins this competition will be the nation that leads the global economy. I am convinced of that. And I want America to be that nation. It's that simple.

That's why the Recovery Act that we passed back in January makes the largest investment in clean energy in history, not just to help end this recession, but to lay a new foundation for lasting prosperity. The Recovery Act includes $80 billion to put tens of thousands of Americans to work developing new battery technologies for hybrid vehicles; modernizing the electric grid; making our homes and businesses more energy efficient; doubling our capacity to generate renewable electricity. These are creating private-sector jobs weatherizing homes; manufacturing cars and trucks; upgrading to smart electric meters; installing solar panels; assembling wind turbines; building new facilities and factories and laboratories all across America. And, by the way, helping to finance extraordinary research.

In fact, in just a few weeks, right here in Boston, workers will break ground on a new Wind Technology Testing Center, a project made possible through a $25 million Recovery Act investment as well as through the support of Massachusetts and its partners. And I want everybody to understand -- Governor Patrick's leadership and vision made this happen. He was bragging about Massachusetts on the way over here -- I told him, you don't have to be a booster, I already love the state. But he helped make this happen.

Hundreds of people will be put to work building this new testing facility, but the benefits will extend far beyond these jobs. For the first time, researchers in the United States will be able to test the world's newest and largest wind turbine blades -- blades roughly the length of a football field -- and that in turn will make it possible for American businesses to develop more efficient and effective turbines, and to lead a market estimated at more than $2 trillion over the next two decades.

This grant follows other Recovery Act investments right here in Massachusetts that will help create clean energy jobs in this commonwealth and across the country. And this only builds on the work of your governor, who has endeavored to make Massachusetts a clean energy leader -- from increasing the supply of renewable electricity, to quadrupling solar capacity, to tripling the commonwealth's investment in energy efficiency, all of which helps to draw new jobs and new industries. That's worth applause.

Now, even as we're investing in technologies that exist today, we're also investing in the science that will produce the technologies of tomorrow. The Recovery Act provides the largest single boost in scientific research in history. Let me repeat that: The Recovery Act, the stimulus bill represents the largest single boost in scientific research in history. An increase -- that's an increase in funding that's already making a difference right here on this campus. And my budget also makes the research and experimentation tax credit permanent -- a tax credit that spurs innovation and jobs, adding $2 to the economy for every dollar that it costs.

And all of this must culminate in the passage of comprehensive legislation that will finally make renewable energy the profitable kind of energy in America. John Kerry is working on this legislation right now, and he's doing a terrific job reaching out across the other side of the aisle because this should not be a partisan issue. Everybody in America should have a stake everybody in America should have a stake in legislation that can transform our energy system into one that's far more efficient, far cleaner, and provide energy independence for America -- making the best use of resources we have in abundance, everything from figuring out how to use the fossil fuels that inevitably we are going to be using for several decades, things like coal and oil and natural gas; figuring out how we use those as cleanly and efficiently as possible; creating safe nuclear power; sustainable -- sustainably grown biofuels; and then the energy that we can harness from wind and the waves and the sun. It is a transformation that will be made as swiftly and as carefully as possible, to ensure that we are doing what it takes to grow this economy in the short, medium, and long term. And I do believe that a consensus is growing to achieve exactly that.

The Pentagon has declared our dependence on fossil fuels a security threat. Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are traveling the country as part of Operation Free, campaigning to end our dependence on oil we have a few of these folks here today, right there. The young people of this country -- that I've met all across America -- they understand that this is the challenge of their generation.

Leaders in the business community are standing with leaders in the environmental community to protect the economy and the planet we leave for our children. The House of Representatives has already passed historic legislation, due in large part to the efforts of Massachusetts' own Ed Markey, he deserves a big round of applause. We're now seeing prominent Republicans like Senator Lindsey Graham joining forces with long-time leaders John Kerry on this issue, to swiftly pass a bill through the Senate as well. In fact, the Energy Committee, thanks to the work of its Chair, Senator Jeff Bingaman, has already passed key provisions of comprehensive legislation.

So we are seeing a convergence. The naysayers, the folks who would pretend that this is not an issue, they are being marginalized. But I think it's important to understand that the closer we get, the harder the opposition will fight and the more we'll hear from those whose interest or ideology run counter to the much needed action that we're engaged in. There are those who will suggest that moving toward clean energy will destroy our economy -- when it's the system we currently have that endangers our prosperity and prevents us from creating millions of new jobs. There are going to be those who cynically claim -- make cynical claims that contradict the overwhelming scientific evidence when it comes to climate change, claims whose only purpose is to defeat or delay the change that we know is necessary.

So we're going to have to work on those folks. But understand there's also another myth that we have to dispel, and this one is far more dangerous because we're all somewhat complicit in it. It's far more dangerous than any attack made by those who wish to stand in the way progress -- and that's the idea that there is nothing or little that we can do. It's pessimism. It's the pessimistic notion that our politics are too broken and our people too unwilling to make hard choices for us to actually deal with this energy issue that we're facing. And implicit in this argument is the sense that somehow we've lost something important -- that fighting American spirit, that willingness to tackle hard challenges, that determination to see those challenges to the end, that we can solve problems, that we can act collectively, that somehow that is something of the past.

I reject that argument. I reject it because of what I've seen here at MIT. Because of what I have seen across America. Because of what we know we are capable of achieving when called upon to achieve it. This is the nation that harnessed electricity and the energy contained in the atom, that developed the steamboat and the modern solar cell. This is the nation that pushed westward and looked skyward. We have always sought out new frontiers and this generation is no different.

Today's frontiers can't be found on a map. They're being explored in our classrooms and our laboratories, in our start-ups and our factories. And today's pioneers are not traveling to some far flung place. These pioneers are all around us -- the entrepreneurs and the inventors, the researchers, the engineers -- helping to lead us into the future, just as they have in the past. This is the nation that has led the world for two centuries in the pursuit of discovery. This is the nation that will lead the clean energy economy of tomorrow, so long as all of us remember what we have achieved in the past and we use that to inspire us to achieve even more in the future.

I am confident that's what's happening right here at this extraordinary institution. And if you will join us in what is sure to be a difficult fight in the months and years ahead, I am confident that all of America is going to be pulling in one direction to make sure that we are the energy leader that we need to be.

Thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. God bless the United States of America.



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