I had a chance to catch up with world renowned environmentalist Lester R. Brown who has just released a new book Plan B 4.0, available to read online. Brown is a huge proponent of plug-ins and he clearly stresses the connection between renewable energy and the power of plug-in electric vehicles to rapidly reduce our use of carbon-intensive fuels.
Going back to his State of the World and Vital Signs series, Lester Brown’s books have always been eye-opening and sometimes even alarming. He continues in that tone in this book by making a definitive case that melting glaciers and rising seas will disrupt food security, especially in Asia. Most of the rice-growing in major populated areas is projected to be under water with rising sea levels as the Greenland icecap continues to melt. Also, receeding glaciers will have adverse impacts on inland irrigation, upon which both China and India depend. As the worlds two greatest producers of wheat, Brown asks the question…what happens when China and India are forced to import their grain and rice?
Yet Lester Brown sets forth a bold plan in the book, issuing reasons to be optimistic. The rays of hope come mainly from the dramatic expansion of renewable energy technologies and their deployment. The growth of cleaner power sources is far out-pacing the growth of other carbon-intensive methods, such as coal-fired power plants, in many parts of the world. For instance, in Texas, wind energy projects represent the equivalent of 53 new coal-fired power plants, and major wind farms are being built faster and cheaper.
Brown calls wind energy the centerpiece of the Plan B energy economy. I appreciate that he doesn’t muddle the message of clean transportation by introducing other forms of fuel. He is single-focused about plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles, coupled with renewable energy, as being the ultimate solution. Period. End of debate.
Posted by Jeanne Trombly, Plug In America managing director