In the deepest chill of the Cold War, then-president of the United States John F. Kennedy announced to the country, and the world, that “we choose to go to the moon.” The Apollo Programme placed a man on the moon within the decade, and now, a new Apollo Programme has been launched, but this time it’s aims are to tackle climate change.
Quoting the distressingly prescient Thomas Edison, the report behind the new Programme aims to “make energy clean.”
“I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.” — Thomas Edison, 1931
- Sir David King, Former UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser
- Lord John Browne, Executive Chairman at L1 Energy. Former President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and former CEO, BP
- Lord Richard Layard, Director of Wellbeing Programme, LSE Centre for Economic Performance. Emeritus Professor of Economics
- Lord Gus O’Donnell, Chairman, Frontier Economics. Former UK Cabinet Secretary
- Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal and former President of the Royal Society and Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics
- Lord Nicholas Stern, IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government, LSE. Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment
- Lord Adair Turner, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of New Economic Thinking. Former Chairman of the Financial Services Authority and of the Committee on Climate Change
Together, these British energy luminaries are calling for “a new priority for the discovery of new, cheaper ways to produce, store, and distribute clean energy.” The current research and development for renewable energy “is under 2% of the total of publicly funded research and development” worldwide — “only around $6 billion in total. This is hardly commensurate with the gravity of the threat we face,” the authors write.
The Global Apollo Programme therefore sees $15 billion as a “minimum acceptable scale for the Programme in its early years, rising thereafter in line with GDP growth.”
The Global Apollo Programme, just like its predecessor, has a clear target — “that new-build base-load energy from renewable sources becomes cheaper than new-build coal in sunny parts of the world by 2020, and worldwide from 2025.” Well, in many places, solar power is already cheaper. And the list is growing fast. But yes, the faster, the better.
The full report is available to read here (PDF).