July 29, 2004

Union of Concerned Scientists

Interview with Kevin Knobloch, President of the Union of Concerned Scientists, just before the New Energy for America Forum

Knobloch says that the UoCS deals with the largest, most stubborn threats facing the world. This includes issues such as global climate change, nuclear proliferation, and the ethics of releasing biotechnology.

Regarding what people can do personally, Knobloch notes that Americans are the most polluting and least efficient people on earth. He says that though the Japanese and Europeans have as good a quality of life, they get it using half the energy, and creating half the pollution. When Americans buy a hybrid car, or the most energy efficient refrigerator, he says it can have a tremendous impact.

Knobloch says that it's distressing to him to hear people say there's nothing they can do. He says that because only 50% of the public votes, "when I vote and someone else doesn't, I'm casting their vote [for them]." He brings up the 2000 election as a case where just a few hundred people could have changed the fate of the country.

Asked to pick the single most pressing issue for people to write their representatives about, Knobloch named global climate change. He says that failure of leadership on this matter is endangering the planet. Something on the table right now is a Senate bill called the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act, which he says needs to get passed.

Knobloch suggested that when talking about climate change with elected officials, or people who don't take climate change seriously, to focus on three main issues: 1) The jobs that can be created by clean technology, 2) how cleaner air would result in a decrease in respiratory diseases, and 3) the problems created by dependence on foreign oil. He says that addressing climate change would fix all three issues.

Posted by nat in boston at July 29, 2004 12:39 AM | Elections | TrackBack(2) | Technorati links |

Excellent piece, Natasha and it sounds like a very informative discussion. Also, right on the money!! As my present car's life begins to enter its senior years, I have begun to think more and more about a hybrid the next time around. We have to stop being a society of gluttoness waste. The planet cannot endure our disregard much longer.

Posted by: Scott at July 29, 2004 01:58 AM

Hi Natasha. We met yesterday - I was taping the New Energy for America Forum for one of its co-sponsors: CERC, the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Conventions. We have been working with the DNC (and the RNC too) to implement environmental best practices at both conventions this year, in order to show to the worldwide audience watching that such green practices are not just environmentally friendly but also economically sound. Kevin Knoblauch of UCS has been a strong supporter of our work. A great story about CERC concerning climate change is the fact that both conventions are 'carbon neutral' - all the emissions have been offset by the donation of carbon credits from companies like Clean Air - Cool Planet in Portsmouth, NH. And both conventions are being powered by renewable energy projects, like the nearby 660 kW wind turbine in Hull, MA. In fact, on Tuesday CERC hosted a boat cruise through Boston Harbor to the aptly named Windmill Point to educate delegates about renewable energy's potential. Other CERC projects include the use of hybrid buses, composting programs for food waste, and encouraging delegates to walk to the DNC. To find out more about our 25 projects here in Boston towards 'making green meetings the convention,' go to www.cerc04.org.

Posted by: Erik Gehring at July 29, 2004 11:51 AM