What Every President Should Know About Energy

If you haven’t yet had a chance to listen to Richard Muller’s great UC Berkeley course Physics for Future Presidents, you can can get the 10-minute executive summary in this recent UC Davis presentation,What Every President Should Know About Energy (website).

This is one lecture that really benefits from the visuals, as Muller shows a number of illuminating graphs in the video version of his talk.

So what would Muller tell President Obama if he had 10 minutes with the top guy?

  • The two top energy challenges are climate change and energy security. Both are important although Democrats tend to focus on climate change and Republicans tend to focus on energy security.
  • We are NOT running out of fossil fuels. The United States has plenty of coal and natural gas, and Canada has plenty of oil, but that oil only makes economic sense if the price of oil is above $50 a barrel.
  • The big global warming challenge is  about limiting carbon emissions in China and the rest of the developing world. Back in 2006 carbon dioxide emissions from China surpassed US carbon emissions. We need to develop  non-polluting energy technologies that are cheap enough to be attractive in the developing world.

Muller spoke at a recent UC Davis energy efficiency symposium. Other videos in energy symposium are here.

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