Dean Kamen on Priuses (Prii?): Perspective, People!

A Wall Street Journal conference about energy and the environment held in California last week featured Bedford inventor Dean Kamen as a panelist. Asked about alternative energy and the environmental impact of America’s use of fossil fuels, Kamen said this:

“You’re looking at a 21st-century problem with a 19th-century mind-set.

If all the passenger cars in North America stopped tomorrow, it would have a 2% impact on greenhouse gases globally. Methane is 21 times as bad for the environment as CO2. There’s more greenhouse gas coming off cows in India and China. The assertion that we, this tiny rounding error of the global population, are going to start driving Priuses and solve the problem is like swatting at the flies when we’re going to get trampled by the elephant.

There are seven billion people out there now, most of whom have essentially never used electricity and don’t have cars, and they live on $1 or $2 a day. If all of those people had the outrageous goal over the next 30 years of doubling that, to live on $2 or $3 a day, most of what that money will buy is power, energy and clean water.

If those people do it the way we did, it doesn’t matter what we do. We have to make sure that the seven billion people find a way better way to make, store, distribute and use energy.”

Smart man, Kamen. Wonder what Gary Hirschberg would say about the net environmental impact of his cows which produce both organic yogurt and methane?

fergus@ferguscullen.com, March 27, 2012

Author: Fergus Cullen

Fergus Cullen is a former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party (2007-2008) and an editorial page columnist for the New Hampshire Union Leader.

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  • C. dog e. doG

    But Fergie –
    It’s organic methane!  And therein lies (or lays?) all the difference for the moon-bats that flit about their mercury infused lighting in the darkness of their neanderthal thoughts.
    – C. dog