Did you see how they covered President Obama’s recent big environmental speech on the Sunday political talk shows? No? That’s because none of the Sunday morning shows discussed it at all. In spite of its paltry coverage on the major networks, the speech is being heralded by some environmentalists as historical, while others are critiquing the president for not going far enough. This week on Sea Change Radio, we do our part to make up for the networks’ deficient analysis of this important speech by talking with Alex Trembath of the Breakthrough Institute. The Breakthrough Institute is an American think tank interested in “modernizing environmentalism for the 21st century.” While their positions on nuclear power and natural gas have raised controversy in environmental circles, they are a leading voice on progressive energy policy and how the government can advance innovation that promotes a healthy planet.
The bankruptcy of solar startup, Solyndra, earlier this year had the clean energy naysayers up-in-arms, saying that Solyndra’s demise proved that governments shouldn’t be wasting taxpayer money on businesses that could fail. We all know that startup businesses are inherently risky and in the clean energy space, they can be quite expensive but who’s better suited to foot the bill and assume the risk, private companies or government-backed efforts?
This week on Sea Change Radio, we welcome back to the show, Jesse Jenkins, the Director of Energy and Climate Policy at the Breakthrough Institute, a leading progressive public policy think tank. Jenkins and host Alex Wise discuss his white paper titled “Bridging the Clean Energy Valleys of Death” which gives an overview of the challenges facing clean energy commercialization and outlines proposals that may allow green technologies and entrepreneurs to better compete with their fossil fuel-based brethren.
The meltdown at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima is enlivening discussions on alternative energy around dinner tables and across debate platforms everywhere. People who call themselves environmentalists tend to agree on the need to curtail human reliance on fossil fuels, including the pervasive use of coal in generating electricity. That same level of consensus cannot be found, however, on the topic of nuclear power. Nuclear energy and environmentalism have traditionally been thought of as incongruous, yet our guest today on Sea Change Radio offers a logic to solve the paradox. Jesse Jenkins, the Director of Energy and Climate Policy at the Breakthrough Institute, a think tank that advocates for innovative solutions to energy and climate challenges, believes that nuclear power ought to be a significant part of a more sustainable energy plan. Listen as Sea Change Radio host Alex Wise asks him about the risks, real and perceived, and how the catastrophe in Japan affects his views on nuclear power. For more, here’s a piece that Jenkins recently co-wrote for The Atlantic titled Nuclear as Usual: Why Fukushima Will Change Less Than You Think.