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Fuel energy innovation

Ramez Naam
By Ramez Naam

Posted: Jan 22, 2013

In 2012, superstorm Sandy pummeled the East Coast to the tune of $50 to $60 billion in damage. A record-breaking drought wiped out almost a third of the nation’s corn crop,resulting in roughly $18 billion in losses. The Arctic ice cap shrank to a record minimum, decades ahead of the projections made by climate scientists as recently as 2007. In short, 2012 was the year that climate change made its impact, more than any other year in modern history. Worse, it’s just the beginning — a small taste of what’s to come.

It’s time to admit what climate change is. It’s a national security threat — a threat that has already destroyed the nation’s property, wrecked its crops and taken the lives of its citizens.

Against that threat, our most powerful weapon is innovation: innovation in solar and wind power, in energy efficiency, in batteries and other energy storage techniques, in advance biofuels that suck carbon out of the air as they’re made. Innovation in all of those fields is happening. Indeed, it’s happening at an astounding pace. Yet even so, it’s not progressing quickly enough to put us on track to avoid the worst of climate change. We need to move faster.

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Ramez Naam, a Fellow of the IEET, is a computer scientist and the author of four books, including the sci-fi thriller Nexus and the nonfiction More than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement and The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet.  He writes at

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