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To start a 'Manhattan Project' for developing renewable energy.

This project would not be secret.This project should be pushed by the U.S., but ideally would be funded by the G8 and all the wealthier countries, say the top 20 economies. Idealistic as it sounds, the defense budget of the U.S. should immediately be cut 25%, as well as Russia, China, and all the top 20 countries.This would create a fund of immense proportions that would be only for developing new technology for perhaps several of the most promising renewables like solar, Wave generated electricity, geothermal, fuel cell etc. Possibly a portion going to totally new and untried ideas. A team of scientists would be assembled from around the globe. Is this completely impracticable?

  • Jun 7 2012: Hey, also, I did not realize that someone else had done a discussion on this idea. That only shows it might have merit. I am new to TED and have been thinking of the idea for quite some time. Also, do we not have enough weaponry on the planet/ I know the United States has more than enough to destroy or disable any adversary; and really, the money wasted on military projects,(billions), may only lead to WW3 and our extinction. Time for us children to scale back on these absurd toys. How about the new Raptor fighter plane,(eventually cost about 750 BILLION), that since 2005 was NEVER used in battle in either Iraq or Afghan., and is practically killing our pilots with oxygen failure issues!!! WASTE. If that 750 billion was put into renewable resource development the U.S. would now lead the world in such tech, and could sell it to everyone else!
    • Jun 8 2012: A fine idea Brian. Personally I would prefer governments to do this because it is in everyone's best interest and then perhaps these technologies would be available to everyone rather than just those that can afford them. Like medicare or social security. Call it Energy Security. It is after all a matter of national and global well-being.
      Probably we will need some kind of huge disaster to get the ball rolling. Some people will steadfastly refuse to see what is coming til it kicks them in the teeth.
  • Jun 8 2012: Anyone with an interest can also check out my blog on all things related to the Environment at Green Earth Thanks. Comments encouraged and appreciated!
  • Jun 8 2012: Mike Robinson, yes, 'Energy Security', I like that! And unfortunately Mike, you are probably right that it'll take some huge calamity to wake many people up. We seem to respond well to crises like an earthquake, tsunami, etc. but Global Warming for instance is too big and shapeless, less specific; and the damage accruing more gradually. It's like the frog set in pot of warm water that is slowly heated to boil and frog doesn't leap out and realize he is being cooked!
  • Jun 7 2012: Barry, thanks, yes, I agree that in a perfect world i would rather see private interests come up w/ these technologies, but if you look at recently published literature by many scientists,(yesterday in fact, see Science Daily and BBC science website), that we are rapidly approaching a 'tipping point' for climate effects that will have dire consequences if ignored.Certainly we can't fullly arrest this process, but we can mitigate the severity of it which i believe is doable. Consequently, i also see it ovious that only the combined massive resources of large governments have the ability to get this done; and since continued degradation of our biosphere will only lead to destruction of our economies eventually, then all of us,and all countries have a vested interest in getting this done. Time is growing very short. I hope my grandchildren are able to adapt to the storm coming that we are so blatantly ignoring for short term profit. (at the expense of long-term reward and benefit). Even Wall-Streeters could see the logic in that! They are all going to take huge hits when natural catastrophes grow...but then again, maybe they are betting on it and profiting off of our loss.(probably!).
  • Jun 6 2012: Yes, this is completely impracticable. Private enterprise must do this job, and the technologies must prove that they are economically competitive. Personally, I am confident that sustainable energy sources will replace carbon based energy within the next few decades, with no need for government projects.