What is your stance on CISPA? Do Democrats need to take a firmer stance on this issue?
I'm against CISPA; have been from the start. And yes, both parties -- and independents and the Tea Party and everyone -- should be firmly in favor of internet freedom and greater respect/protection for privacy. This is a big deal for the future of democracy and liberty.
What specific things are you doing in life to lower your personal carbon footprint?
And what is the biggest one specific thing I as an individual can do to reduce mine?
I use only carbon-free electricity. Have 33 solar panels on my roof, seven deep geothermal wells under my driveway, LED lights and highest-grade energy-saving windows, max insulation, hybrid plug-in car, etc. No fountains, btw. What you can do? Make smart choices for low-carbon options in the marketplace, make sure you divest from carbon-intensive stocks; be a smart and active citiizen! Let politicians know the climate crisis MATTERS to you -- A LOT -- that you will WORK and contribute to candidates who really champion solutions -- and that you will seriously work hard to DEFEAT candidates who ignore climate or take the wrong positions on climate. Help put a price on carbon in the market and put a price on denial in the political system.
What is your opinion on China's smog problem?
Unbelievably bad air pollution in China -- particularly in the North of China. Check out Harbin (population 11 million) on Google today: the city is shut DOWN by air pollution; 1000+ ppm (compared to a safe level of 25 ppm). Chinese Communist Party values stability, but public protests, demonstrations and serious unrest are beginning to threaten stability and what they call the "Mandate of Heaven". The good news is that their new president is seemingly determined to take action. They have just banned any new coal-burning plants in three heavily polluted areas, and have implemented cap-and-trade in five cities and two provinces -- as pilot for a nationwide cap-and-trade for the whole country by 2015. If they follow through, this will be a HUGE deal for global carbon pollution reduction. And since folks literally ARE "holding their breath", maybe they will follow through. The bad news is that they are still increasing the amount of coal they burn. I'm betting on the Chinese people using the internet -- in SPITE of the censorship there -- to win this struggle.
Do you think Telsa will make it as a car company even with the pressure from local car dealers as well as major car corporations?
Yes! In Musk I trust.
What's your opinion on using nuclear energy as an alternative to fossil fuels in the future?
I have mixed feelings. The present generation of the technology is clunky, fragile and extremely expensive. Price increases are continuing -- even as PV and Wind (not to mention new efficiency technologies for "demand destruction") continue to plummet in price. Within seven years, more than 85% of the world's people will live in areas where renewable electricity is equal to or cheaper than electricity from either fossil or nuclear energy! (The market projections for cell phone deployment were also wrong for the same reasons the projections for PV and Wind have been way way wrong: the cost-down curve is steep; the technologies improve as they get cheaper; scaling produces a virtuous circle; purchasing decisions are in the hands of individuals, not utilities; and in developing countries with few existing land-line grids for telephones and central-station electricity, the advantages of leap-frogging are even more attractive. This trend toward "distributed renewable power" is unstoppable. But the legacy industries of the past are trying to hold it back by using money and lobbyists and raw political power. Now is the time to push hard to tear down those walls between us and a sustainable future. As for nuclear, it will continue to play a limited role, and IF the ongoing R&D produces cheaper, safer, smaller reactors, they may yet play a more significant role. It will probably be a decade before we know whether or not one or more of these options will work; I hope they will. But in the meantime, we need to push hard for the more rapid scaling and deployment of renewables.
What was it like riding the Mighty Moon Worm?
When the Constitution was written, the U.S. government was intentionally designed to be inefficient with the goal of forcing compromise in order to be functional. This worked rather well for 200 years as compromise deals could be struck behind closed doors, but it seems that in the modern era of the never-ending campaign, compromise seems impossible as moderates are attacked by talking heads for backing down on their principals and challenged in primary elections by more "ideologically pure" candidates. My question for you is, given the current media environment, is it even feasible for the United States to have a functional national government without radical changes to how the legislative branch functions? In other words, in the age of the 24-hour news cycle, is it still possible for significant legislative compromise to be reached when we have gerrymandered districts, mandated biennial congressional elections, and a 60-vote requirement to break a Senate filibuster? If so, what can be done to end the current state of perennial stalemate?
Our Democracy has been hacked. Big money, anonymous donors, "corporations-as-people", "entertainment-as-news", Members of Congress-as-supplicants to the wealthy and powerful, and apathy-as-irony -- all are threats to our freedom. One of the best solutions is to accelerate the transition of our democratic institutions to the internet as quickly as possible -- to bypass the gatekeepers who charge huge tolls for access to the public's mind over television.
Got to get back to 24 Hours of Reality. Please tune in to the 24th hour at climaterealityproject.org