The Challenge Isn’t Going Away: Clean Energy, Jobs and National Security

Vice-Admiral Dennis McGinn testifying before the Select Committee, December 10, 2010

In April, 2007, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi created a congressional committee to address three of the most pressing issues of the day: climate change, economic prosperity (in the form of jobs), and national security. Today, the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, issued a final report. After three-and-a-half years, 80 hearings and briefings with hundreds of experts testifying, the committee is no more. It will not continue in the Republican-controlled House.

Which is too bad, because the three challenges — climate change, jobs, national security — remain as daunting today as they were in 2007. In many ways, the problems have grown over time.

Since the committee was first gavelled into session, American’s have spent $1.3 trillion on imported oil. Our jobless rate was 4.6 percent in 2007; in December, that figure stood at 9.8 percent. And the level of CO2 in the atmosphere has gone from 385 to 388.59 parts per million in these three plus years.

The committee report on this nexus should be required reading for all Americans — particularly those individuals convening in the nation’s capitol this week, as part of the 112th Congress.

Final Report, Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming

Study | Low-Balling Oil Numbers Caused Public Mistrust

Oil gushing from the BP well

While not exactly earthshaking, a draft study released today by the staff of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, may be the source of some satisfaction to the many Americans who remain skeptical of the government’s response to the disaster:

By initially underestimating the amount of oil flow and then, at the end of the summer, appearing to underestimate the amount of oil remaining in the Gulf, the federal government created the impression that it was either not fully competent to handle the spill or not fully candid with the American people about the scope of the problem.

The draft report (below) is one of four released by the commission today. The others are:

The weekly update issued by the government’s Unified Area Command didn’t comment on the studies.

The Amount and Fate of the Oil

The Amount and Fate of the Oil. Working Paper #3

Video | Steve Chu’s Big News (Solar Panels Where?!)

Chu: "It's been a long time since we had them up there."

Courtesy of the good people at Planet Forward, here’s a video clip of Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and Council of Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley announcing  the good news earlier today that the Obama administration will be installing solar panels (both PV and solar thermal) on the White House roof by next spring. (You can read the full story at OnEarth magazine, here.)