Solving Global Climate Change can Help Ensure American’s Security

Solving Global Climate Change can Help Ensure American’s Security

At the Ohio AeroSpace Institute, 3 March 2010

Participants:     Senator John Warner
Retired Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn
Dr. Mike Heil, President and CEO of the Ohio AeroSpace Institute
Dr. George Schmidt Dept. Dir. of Research and Technology at NASA Glenn
Ms. Rebecca Bagley CEO of Nor Tech
Phyllis Cuttino PEW    Charitable Trust

The theme of this Conference concerned the intersection of security, energy and climate, and how they are linked and interrelated.

John Warner covered the connections between Climate Change, energy dependence,  military security., and economic growth through green jobs and green industries.

Dennis McGinn reviewed some of our current and future world’s problems: conflict over scarce resources: water, food, and energy.  These create desperation etc, which produces fanaticism and terrorism.  There are many threat multipliers, such as environmentally  caused refugees.  Conclusion: Energy Dependence constitutes a serious and urgent threat on our military, and the DoD can contribute as an early adapter.

Mike Heil, CEO of OAI, covered some achievements and current projects of the organization.

George Schmidt reviewed the past and present of energy at NASA, including photovoltaic (solar) cells, improved batteries, fuel cells,and nuclear power.  The space program created demand for photovoltaic power, and fuel cells.  There are many current projects on Stirling cycle, nuclear power and flywheels (for energy storage).  NASA can make a difference

Rebecca Bagley CEO of Nortech spoke on what her company has and can do for NE Ohio and the world.

In summary, all of the panel – which is traveling around the country, commented on how good an event this had been.

Ms. Cuttino: “A Chinese shared with her that ‘we missed the Industrial revolution, and were late to the IT revolution, but we will own the green revolution”.

There were several questions/observations of interest.  One person stated that: “In 1909 global warming was proven false.”  I have at least two issues with that statement: ‘1909’, and ‘proven’.  Lots of data since 1909, and the word ‘prove’ does not belong in the realm of physical science.

Another (me) covered the origin of the space race in which we succeeded in part because both science and science education became respected and trusted – a trust which was vindicated when Armstrong stepped on the Moon. Today, that trust is no longer there, and we are paying the price in pollution, cost, inefficiency, and vulnerability, as well as the potential premature extinction of our and many other species: how can we regain it?  Do we need another Sputnik Moment?  Ms. Cuttino said we had had a Sputnik Moment, but I shared with her that “.. if a tree falls in a forest…”

A Ponzi Scheme for all Americans vs real wealth for all Americans

We have been warned!

In todays Times ( New York, not London), Tom Friedman writes: “What if the crisis of 2008 represents something much more fundamental than a deep recession? What if it’s telling us that the whole growth model we created over the last 50 years is simply unsustainable economically and ecologically and that 2008 was when we hit the wall — when Mother Nature and the market both said: “No more.”

We have created a system for growth that depended on our building more and more stores to sell more and more stuff made in more and more factories in China, powered by more and more coal that would cause more and more climate change but earn China more and more dollars to buy more and more U.S. T-bills so America would have more and more money to build more and more stores and sell more and more stuff that would employ more and more Chinese …

We can’t do this anymore.”

“We created a way of raising standards of living that we can’t possibly pass on to our children,” said Joe Romm, a physicist and climate expert who writes the indispensable blog We have been getting rich by depleting all our natural stocks — water, hydrocarbons, forests, rivers, fish and arable land — and not by generating renewable flows.  ““You can get this burst of wealth that we have created from this rapacious behavior,” added Romm. “But it has to collapse, unless adults stand up and say, ‘This is a Ponzi scheme. We have not generated real wealth, and we are destroying a livable climate …’ Real wealth is something you can pass on in a way that others can enjoy.”