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Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Foundation Road: Bill Gates on Energy

Saturday, February 27th, 2016

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Summary: Energy is a huge part of making life easier, healthier, more exciting, more cultural and, frankly, more energetic. 1.6 billion people live without electricity mainly in Africa and India. If Bill Gates “could have just one wish to help the poorest people, it would be to find a cheap, clean source of energy to power our world.”

2016 ANNUAL LETTER
MORE ENERGY
by Bill
At some point today, you’ll probably do one or all of these things: Flip a switch for light. Take fresh food from a refrigerator. Turn a dial to make your home warmer or cooler. Press a button on your laptop to go online.
You probably won’t think twice about any of these actions, but you will actually be doing something extraordinary. You will be using a superpower—your access to energy.
Does that sound ridiculous?
Just imagine, for a minute, life without energy.
You don’t have a way to run a laptop, mobile phone, TV, or video games. You don’t have lights, heat, air conditioning, or even the Internet to read this letter.
About 1.3 billion people—18 percent of the world’s population—don’t need to imagine. That’s what life is like for them every day.
You can see this fact for yourself in this photograph of Africa at night taken from space.

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Africa has made extraordinary progress in recent decades. It is one of the fastest-growing regions of the world with modern cities, hundreds of millions of mobile phone users, growing Internet access, and a vibrant middle class.
But as you can see from the areas without lights, that prosperity has not reached everyone. In fact, of the nearly one billion people in sub-Saharan Africa, 7 out of every 10 of them live in the dark, without electricity. The majority of them live in rural areas. You would see the same problem in Asia. In India alone, more than 300 million people don’t have electricity.
If you could zoom into one of those dark areas in that photograph, you might see a scene like this one. This is a student doing her homework by candlelight.007U0644MOV19_04_34_18Still001_800px_v02

I’m always a little stunned when I see photographs like this. It’s been well over a century since Thomas Edison demonstrated how an incandescent light bulb could turn night into day. (I’m lucky enough to own one of his sketches of how he planned to improve his light bulb. It’s dated 1885.) And yet, there are parts of the world where people are still waiting to enjoy the benefits of his invention.
If I could have just one wish to help the poorest people, it would be to find a cheap, clean source of energy to power our world.
You might be wondering, “Aren’t people just trying to stay healthy and find enough to eat? Isn’t that important too?” Yes, of course it is, and our foundation is working hard to help them. But energy makes all those things easier. It means you can run hospitals, light up schools, and use tractors to grow more food.
Think about the history classes you’re taking. If I had to sum up history in one sentence it would be: “Life gets better—not for everyone all the time, but for most people most of the time.” And the reason is energy. For thousands of years, people burned wood for fuel. Their lives were, by and large, short and hard. But when we started using coal in the 1800s, life started getting better a lot faster. Pretty soon we had lights, refrigerators, skyscrapers, elevators, air conditioning, cars, planes, and all the other things that make up modern life, from lifesaving medicines and moon landings to fertilizer and Matt Damon movies. (The Martian was my favorite movie last year.)

Without access to energy, the poor are stuck in the dark, denied all of these benefits and opportunities that come with power.

So if we really want to help the world’s poorest families, we need to find a way to get them cheap, clean energy. Cheap because everyone must be able to afford it. Clean because it must not emit any carbon dioxide—which is driving climate change.

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Nuclear Power Part 2: Energy Process Developments and Rory O’Sullivan

Saturday, February 20th, 2016

 

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Rory O’Sullivan is a 29 year old Irish Engineer, and is the lead engineer on Energy Process Developments.

Liquid Fueled molted reactors (thorium) are the subject of the company’s focus. Fascinating to see where this technology is in 10 years time. From Energy Process Developments:

 

It is widely accepted that the safe harnessing of energy from nuclear fission is a necessary component of a rational and sustainable energy policy. A central concern for the feasibility study reported here is the problem of finding the most suitable way of effectively and safely doing this. Liquid-fuelled molten salt reactors have been recognised as an excellent solution. China alone has initiated a major programme to pursue this opportunity. Past reviews have concluded that MSRs are many years away from implementation. The study undertaken for this report indicates that, following a decade of work, several small to medium developers – without need for more science – claim they are ready now with proposals for the next step to implementation, namely engineering design to prepare the safety case and to proceed to design and build. Six specific proposals have been reviewed for this study. These proposal assessments are the core substance of this study, with one proposal identified for development in the UK, the Stable Salt Reactor. This study originated with a concern that current nuclear new build projects appear to be locked into the original solid-fuelled reactor technology. Since the 1970s the industry has lacked innovation. By increasing regulation and subsequent cost the result is an expensive energy source. The proposals considered for this study are for inherently safe efficient liquid-fuelled reactors which have the potential to be engineered to compete with fossil fuel prices. This solution needs to be conveyed with the help of this report to interested members of the public, institutions, the media, and to decision makers both in Government and in industry. The opportunity to carry out this study owes a lot to Innovate UK funding and to voluntary contributions from individual engineers, consultancies and academics. An opinion poll carried out for this study helped identify public concerns and aspirations of those supporting more nuclear power. The media and institutions have been involved where good relations have developed. The team has been invited to present the progress of the study across the UK and internationally.

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Analysis: The Third Way’s Record of Impact: One Policy Area at a Time

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

The Third Way
Clean Energy (From the Third Way’s “Record of Impact.”)

Third Way developed a new centrist approach to the climate debate.

Third Way has rejected the ideological rigidity of the climate change debate, which pits climate deniers against those who believe renewables are the only answer. We have developed a campaign to ensure the U.S. leverages all of our energy resources as part of a climate solution, with a focus on commercializing advanced nuclear energy, cutting the carbon emissions from fossil fuels, and moving freight off American roads and onto our rails and waterways. Over a dozen of our proposals have been introduced as legislation or executive orders, and three have become law.”

Analysis: some of the above sounds smart. Advanced Nuclear energy requires some research, less carbon emission of fossil fuels you can’t argue with. More freight by sea and by train sounds romantic and is realistically effective. Pretty sure the biggest money will be made in Hyper Battery Storage of Solar Power, but these ideas above are fun and real. Oil and gas is not done by a long shot, but within the next ten years you’re going to hear extraordinary stories about solar batteries powering a whole bunch of stuff, and a lot of that is because of the forward thinking of the current administration, and, of course, entrepreneurs led by Elon Musk.

–Milon Henry Levine

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The Third Way: A Record of Impact

Friday, January 29th, 2016

The Third Way

The Third Way is not just an idea-that it’s not about Democrats and Republicans, it’s about what works–it’s also an organization in Washington, and it is perhaps the most effective moderate organization in that city. Here is their essential record of achievement entitled a record of Impact. Sometimes people get offended by third wayers, or anyone they see as moderate. “Andrew Cuomo in New York, for instance,  has taken money from the Koch Brothers,” they will say.  Things like this.  I think what may offend people most about Cuomo are the strong armed tactics and a real keen interest in looking good though large public achievements, some of which may not be incredibly efficiently funded, and some that may or may not get done. The Third Way really should boil down to: The most effective use of public funds to “Supercharge” the economy…so that it works for everyone. As noted below, it works as a way to find common ground in many fields. But supercharging the economy so that it works really well for everyone is a HUGE plus, and I think best achieved by a moderate Third Way approach. The Clintons argue they are the best at this. I continue to hold the view that the most successful Third Wayer in History is on the Campaign trail right now: William Jefferson Clinton.

–Milon Henry Levine

 

Clean Energy

Third Way developed a new centrist approach to the climate debate.

Third Way has rejected the ideological rigidity of the climate change debate, which pits climate deniers against those who believe renewables are the only answer. We have developed a campaign to ensure the U.S. leverages all of our energy resources as part of a climate solution, with a focus on commercializing advanced nuclear energy, cutting the carbon emissions from fossil fuels, and moving freight off American roads and onto our rails and waterways. Over a dozen of our proposals have been introduced as legislation or executive orders, and three have become law.

Deficit Reduction

Third Way helped enact over $3 trillion in deficit reduction.

Third Way led the effort on the Democratic side to enact a series of bipartisan deals that reduced the ten-year deficit by $3.3 trillion. Our three-year education and advocacy campaign built support for deficit reduction that included both budget cuts and new revenue. Though these deals were far from perfect, they have eliminated the near-term deficit problem.

Entitlement Reform

Third Way has spearheaded a long-term campaign to fix the safety net.

After the 2008 election, we launched a long-term campaign to make the progressive case for fixing the broken entitlements system. In those five years, we prepared and got introduced a bill that would create a Social Security Commission, created the narrative around an impending “collision course” between entitlements and investment spending, became the leading center-left venue for entitlement reformers, and directly influenced the language and policies of top Democratic officials.

Exports

Third Way was the principal Democratic group behind three free trade agreements.

Third Way played the leading role among Democratic organizations in passing trade deals with Columbia and Panama, and we hosted the kick-off and helped shepherd through Congress the deal with Korea, the largest trade accord since NAFTA. The White House adopted Third Way’s pro-trade messages to make their case for the FTAs, and our policy papers were cited throughout the Congressional debates.

Federal Pensions

Third Way reformed federal pensions for all new employees.

In 2011, Third Way proposed a series of changes to bring federal pensions in line with the private sector. In 2012-13, Congress passed legislation that included our central idea, permanently raising the rate of federal employee retirement contribution from 0.8% to 4.4% for all new federal employees, which will save tens of billions over the next decade.

Gun Safety

Third Way fundamentally altered the gun debate.

As The Atlantic has noted, “The story of the way the gun debate changed is largely the story of Americans for Gun Safety. AGS ceased to exist in 2005… absorbed by…Third Way. But its success endures.” We helped shift the focus for gun safety advocates to the centrist notion of “rights and responsibilities.” We passed ballot initiatives in Colorado and Oregon to close the gun show loophole and a bill in Congress to improve the background check system. Every major Democratic presidential candidate of the last decade has turned to us for guidance on gun policy and messaging.

Health Care

Third Way helped shape and pass the Affordable Care Act.

Third Way fought successfully for a market-based approach to cost control in the ACA. We also developed a messaging framework built upon a series of reforms that would provide “stability and security” to the insured, and President Obama took our framework and used those exact words repeatedly, including in a speech to a joint session of Congress in September 2009. In a moment when the bill was failing, his shift to our message tipped the balance and helped pass the ACA.

Immigration Reform

Third Way won the support of moderate Senators for immigration reform.

When the initial push for comprehensive immigration reform in 2006 had lost the support of Democratic moderates, Third Way entered the debate to help shape policy arguments about a pathway to citizenship and making the U.S. a magnet for global talent. We combined that with groundbreaking public opinion research that led to a centrist framework for immigration reform—“tough, fair, and practical”—and helped persuade a number of wavering Senators to support reform. By the time another comprehensive reform bill was up for a vote on the Senate floor in 2013, every moderate Democratic senator supported using this centrist narrative it, including five who had opposed even the narrower D.R.E.A.M. Act in 2010.

Marriage for Gay Couples

Third Way’s narrative reversed decades of losses on marriage for gay couples.

By 2008, advocates of marriage for gay couples had a record of 0 for 30 at the ballot box. We conducted deep public opinion research to understand why, which revealed a serious strategic flaw: the focus on the rights and benefits of marriage was driving away Americans in the middle. To sway these critical voters, we advised advocates to emphasize instead the common value that all couples share around marriage: lifetime commitment. Our approach was widely adopted, and as a result, in part, the tide has turned. Marriage went 4 for 4 with voters in 2012, and political leaders from President Obama on down have used this “commitment” message to announce their support for allowing gay couples to marry.

Middle Class Success

Third Way developed a middle-class success agenda and turned it into legislation.

Our policy ideas on helping the middle class get ahead—including getting to and through college, managing care for an aging parent, preparing for a successful retirement, and starting a small business—have been introduced as thirty-three pieces of legislation in Congress. A number of these were also included in the agenda of the Vice President’s Middle Class Task Force.

Military Readiness

Third Way led the effort to increase the size of the wartime Army.

In 2005, the U.S. Army was nearing a breaking point. Third Way revealed the extent of the strain on the Army in a groundbreaking report, which led to legislation that Third Way initiated co-sponsored by then-Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI). That bill, which increased the size of the Army by 100,000 troops, became law in 2006. Though Third Way opposed the Iraq War, the Army end-strength increase was required to save the force from catastrophe (as happened after Vietnam). We now are pushing to modernize the military for a new era.

Use of Force

Third Way changed the debate in Congress on the Authorization for the Use of Military Force.

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Foundation Road

Saturday, September 5th, 2015

Foundation Road 525

 

Healthcare 2.0

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The Clinton Foundation and The Third Way

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

In beginning to look at the CGI….Gonna start by looking at their own media. So below a film….in which the basic philosophy of what the CGI (The Clinton Global Inititive) does,  is described. And the most key element of the entire thing….is “We dont’ believe in the artificial boundaries between governments, nonprofits, and businesses…” This is the famed Troika that can and will and is redefining public spending. This….is the 3rd Way…personified with pretty much exponentially more power and grace (and most importantly: effectiveness) than anywhere before it. And… looking at Transparency…. inspiring it….getting really into it…taking it way beyond the pie graph….across these Three Areas of Public Spending……again….you’re looking at a whole new world.

The primary thing the CGI does is put people together …but it puts people together ACROSS THESE THREE SPHERES. There will be a day that an agency like the MTA will not be able to bottle up public transportation spending….that day will come because of the understanding and promotion of the TROIKA that The Third Way epouses, and the CGI works actively across, every moment of every day. Businesses, NGOs, and Governments. And an individual…can rally the support of all three to get something done. That’s an amazing new development in Public Spending…and it’s held up as an example almost singuarly…by the Clinton Global Initiative. And if this philosophy were to become the dominant model of Public Spending around the world…ur looking at a progressive revolution finally beyond that made by FDR beginning in 1933.

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THE CLINTON FOUNDATION: HOW DOES IT WORK?

Friday, September 12th, 2014

In less than two weeks, the Clinton Global Initiative‘s 10th Annual Meeting will convene leaders from around the world to turn ideas into action on global challenges. The meeting will open on Sunday, September 21st with the Clinton Global Citizen Awards, which honor outstanding individuals in civil society, philanthropy, public service, and the private sector who exemplify global citizenship through their vision, leadership, and impact in addressing global challenges.


We are pleased to announce that this year’s awards will be hosted by Seth Meyers, of NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and will feature musical performances by Aloe Blacc, Natalie Merchant, Jason Mraz with special guests Raining Jane, and The Roots and appearances by Madeleine Albright, Eva Longoria, and Randy Jackson, who serves as music director for the even

As Chelsea Clinton told The Hollywood Reporter: “My family is grateful that some of the most talented, caring and engaged artists in entertainment will help us shine a light on this year’s Clinton Global Citizen Award honorees and their extraordinary commitments and work to strengthen communities around the world.”

The evening’s honorees include Leonardo DiCaprio, Founder, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation; Atifete Jahjaga, President of the Republic of Kosovo; Hayat Sindi, Founder and CEO, i2 Institute; and Greg Asbed and Lucas Benitez, Co-founders, Coalition of Immokalee Workers.
As the event approaches, follow #CGI2014 on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for other announcements, live highlights from the awards, and ways to watch the ceremony.
– See more at: http://www.clintonfoundation.org/blog/2014/09/10/see-whos-performing-and-being-honored-2014-clinton-global-citizen-awards#sthash.TNCj2p2I.dpuf

As Chelsea Clinton told The Hollywood Reporter: “My family is grateful that some of the most talented, caring and engaged artists in entertainment will help us shine a light on this year’s Clinton Global Citizen Award honorees and their extraordinary commitments and work to strengthen communities around the world.”
The evening’s honorees include Leonardo DiCaprio, Founder, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation; Atifete Jahjaga, President of the Republic of Kosovo; Hayat Sindi, Founder and CEO, i2 Institute; and Greg Asbed and Lucas Benitez, Co-founders, Coalition of Immokalee Workers.
As the event approaches, follow #CGI2014 on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for other announcements, live highlights from the awards, and ways to watch the ceremony.
– See more at: http://www.clintonfoundation.org/blog/2014/09/10/see-whos-performing-and-being-honored-2014-clinton-global-citizen-awards#sthash.TNCj2p2I.dpuf

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Pristine Seas: A Project From National Geographic

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Prinstineseas.org

Pristine Seas is an exploration, research, and media project to find, survey, and help protect the last wild places in the ocean. These pristine places are unknown by all but long-distance fishing fleets, which have started to encroach on them. It is essential that we let the world know that these places exist, that they are threatened, and that they deserve to be protected.

Latest Expedition: Mozambique

The National Geographic Pristine Seas team recently completed an expedition to the southern coast of Mozambique, a region that is home to some of the healthiest populations of marine megafauna such as manta rays, dugongs, and whale sharks.

Expedition Leader Paul Rose led a group of key scientists and filmmakers to explore, survey, and document these terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Together with National Geographic Emerging Explorer Andrea Marshall and the Marine Megafauna Foundation, the team will conduct a comprehensive, quantitative assessment of what they expect to be some of the healthiest East African reefs.

Read All Pristine Seas: Mozambique Blog Posts

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