chapter  3
10 Pages

Listening to the Planet and Building a Sustainable Energy Economy

ByDaniel M. Kammen

Energy is in the news every day, discussed in many ways, yet we remarkably struggle for even a basic currency in which we can reflect the energy system we wish to build. This simple fact drives many of the apparent paradoxes of our interest in clean, sustainable energy and our inability to launch a new scientific and industrial revolution to build this new energy economy. Not only is energy a dominant part of our economy but its impact on the planetary system can also be seen in a few historical trends. Placing a price on greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere will not solve global climate change and environmental destruction by itself, but it gives us a language to express our values. Rewarding waste is, in fact, placing a negative value on the planet and saying financially that sustainability is a bad thing. This is not to say that we are intentionally damaging our "nest," but that through our inactions.