Highlights from President Bill Clinton's keynote address at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit 2012.
Clinton: “We’re the only country in the world that has one political party where apparently it’s ideologically imperative to deny the reality of climate change. But even the government’s role is uncertain, we have a huge venture capital community that continues to invest in clean technology, almost 56 billion in 2011 alone. The recent spike in gas prices reminds us of the fragility of relying on “just the way we used to do things”. Not to mention the costs of fossil fuels on our health and our ecosystem.
The first challenge you face is to try to close the gap between the trend lines, which for you are exciting and thrilling and good, and the headlines, many of which could have been written 100 years ago.
There is a citizenship component here, which requires us to raise the knowledge level of our citizens, and the intensity of their understanding that their economic future is not threatened by what you are doing, it depends on the success of what you are doing.
There are still too few unemployed or under-employed Americans who understand what a huge impact this could be on their future. There are still too few people who understand there are already more people working in clean energy than traditional energy. There are still too few people who intensely believe that the consequences of climate change can be calamitous and there are wildly profitable ways to avoid it.”
The former President also spoke about the need close all open landfills in the US and highlighted the green retrofit of the Empire State Building, which saw energy bills drop by 40%.