Early in May, we were fortunate to host a visit from California’s Climate Action Team. The team was here to discuss the role of forests in mitigating climate change and to take input from attendees on the state’s Climate Action Plan. The plan is well researched and well written and its very existence puts our state far ahead of our nation in addressing climate change. Energy efficiency, conservation, new technologies, and a carbon trading system are among the important and effective strategies promoted by the plan. In my response to the team, I pointed out that despite the plan’s quality, the most important message about climate change had been omitted. It is this: All of these strategies taken together won’t solve our problems without a reduction in our wasteful lifestyle. That’s a message we at SERC try to stress: Technology, no matter how clever and effective, won’t solve our problems by itself. We have to change too.
We continue working to get our message about clean and renewable energy out there. Our HyTEC hydrogen energy curriculum has been tested in local high schools and has been a rousing success. Our energy capacity building program with the Yurok Tribe is now in full swing and we are again working with Redwood National Park in the University- National Park Energy Partnership Program. Two HSU undergraduate engineering students will install a solar electric system this summer, which replaces an inefficient, noisy, and polluting diesel generator at a ranger residence. And our technology work continues as well, as Arne Jacobson describes in his article about photovoltaic testing.
With energy prices stubbornly high and our president finally saying out loud that “We’re addicted to oil,” it’s a great time to be working in energy. I hope you enjoy reading about our efforts.