Climate change needs an Operation Warp Speed

January 18, 2021, 3:12PMNuclear News

The government of the United States should throw its muscle behind ramping up a mammoth, rapid rollout of all forms of renewable energy through Operation Warp Speed, similar to what is being done with COVID-19, Clive Thompson writes in an Ideas column for Wired.

The rollout should include energy sources that we already know how to build—like solar and wind — but also experimental emerging sources such as geothermal and small nuclear, and cutting-edge forms of energy storage or transmission.

What it means: For the past 40 years, the United States has spent 37 percent more on research and development for fossil fuels than for renewables. Thompson notes that an Operation Warp Speed for climate campaign should invert that ratio, adding that the government should become a bulk buyer of renewable energy. The feds’ vaccine purchase is what jolted pharmaceutical companies to move rapidly with a COVID-19 vaccine. The virus created the demand; the feds created the market, according to Thompson.

As a starting point, Operation Warp Speed for climate could use the organizational push from the U.S. government and military to bring clean energy to every federal building nationwide, Thompson writes.

He said it: “The new Biden administration plans to retire the Warp Speed name, but hopefully not the approach,” Thompson opines. “When you’re finally jabbed with the new vaccine, savor our public victory. Then call your congresscritter [sic] to demand a Warp Speed for climate. The planet needs the same shot in the arm.”

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