PLEDGE NOW
Energy Ideas and Realities: 80% Clean by 2035?

The President says he wants 80 percent clean energy by 2035. How will we really get there?

Membrane and catalyst components involved in engineering man-made "plants" for energy conversion, provided by the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis. (solarfuelshub.org)

World events, Egypt, and snow storms have grabbed our attention hard since the State of the Union address.

But one pledge – promise, goal – from President Obama still rings:  That by the year 2035, eighty percent of America’s electricity will come from clean energy.

It was a careful pledge. It included natural gas and “clean coal” in the eighty percent equation. But even so, it’s a big pledge – for a country that overall has not been ambitious for clean energy.

Can we do it? Will we do it? And how?

We speak with Caltech energy guru Nathan Lewis, on President Obama’s big clean energy pledge.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Nathan Lewis, director of the Department of Energy’s Innovation Hub at the California Institute of Technology — the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis. The center is researching simulating photosynthesis for energy production. He’s also a professor of chemistry at CalTech.

Steven Mufson, energy correspondent for the Washington Post.

Here’s what President Obama said in the 2011 State of the Union Address about Nathan Lewis’ work — and the wider race for a clean energy future:

That’s what Americans have done for over 200 years: reinvented ourselves. And to spur on more success stories like the Allen Brothers, we’ve begun to reinvent our energy policy. We’re not just handing out money. We’re issuing a challenge. We’re telling America’s scientists and engineers that if they assemble teams of the best minds in their fields, and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy, we’ll fund the Apollo projects of our time.

At the California Institute of Technology, they’re developing a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, they’re using supercomputers to get a lot more power out of our nuclear facilities. With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 26, 2016
This Jan. 26, 2016 file photo shows a "For Sale" sign hanging in front of an existing home in Atlanta.  Short of savings and burdened by debt, America's millennials are struggling to afford their first homes in the face of sharply higher prices in many of the most desirable cities. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

No more ’empty nest’. A third of millennials now live at home with their parents. We’ll look at what’s still pushing that trend.

May 26, 2016
This March 16, 2015 photo shows portraits of now-retired U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Marshall Powell, right, and his wife, Arasi, at their home in Crescent, Okla. Powell suffers from a psychological wound called "moral injury" after serving as an Army nurse in Iraq and Afghanistan. Arasi, also a soldier who served in Iraq, had received treatment for PTSD. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

In advance of Memorial Day, we’ll talk with Sebastian Junger about vets coming home and missing their “Tribe.” Plus, a WWII veteran remembers life on and off and the battlefield.

RECENT
SHOWS
May 25, 2016
Police gather in a cordoned off area where a possible murder suspect fired shots at officers surrounding a South Side home where he is barricaded Thursday, May 12, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

Predictive policing. With violence on the rise, Chicago has turned to big data to predict gun and gang violence.

 
May 25, 2016
This April 29, 2014, file photo, shows an Exxon sign at a Exxon gas station in Carnegie, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

How will the oil giants do business in the climate change future? Shareholders at Exxon, Chevron and more want to hear their plans. So do we.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
WWII Vet Larry Kirby Reflects On American Values
Thursday, May 26, 2016

Looking ahead to Memorial Day, a World War II veteran looks back at the relationships that mattered to him, both in and out of war.

More »
Comment
 
Gloria Steinem Explains Her ‘Bernie Boys’ Comment
Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Feminist activist Gloria Steinem explains why her apparent diss of female supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders was anything but.

More »
Comment
 
‘Best Of’ 2016 Commencement Speeches
Monday, May 16, 2016

Excerpts from a few of the best commencement speeches delivered to the graduating class of 2016.

More »
Comment