As part of an effort to gain support for a current Senate climate bill (http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h2454/show), President Obama is at MIT today to deliver a speech, and to visit a climate change laboratory. His speech is expected to cover "American leadership in clean energy" in accordance with the theme of the Senate bill.
According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL; http://www.nrel.gov/), renewable (or 'clean') energy technologies are being developed for wind, solar, geothermal, hydrogen, hydro (ocean and fresh water), and biomass power. This includes advancements in energy delivery and storage, development of advanced vehicles and fuel, and other applications.
MIT is currently conducting interdisciplinary research into climate change (http://globalchange.mit.edu) through its Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, a group with the unique mission of covering both research on natural science and on economic policy. This approach produces studies that provide important data for deliberation of climate bills by the US Congress.
A key part of the work at MIT involves their Integrated Global System Model (IGSM), a mathematical model allowing calculation of costs from various climate change scenarios, or the economic benefits from various policies.
Research areas crossing scientific research and policy research disciplines at MIT include the following:
- Integration of Earth System Components, Including Human Systems
- Uncertainty in Earth System Components and the Implications for Risks of Serious Climate Change
- Mitigation Policy Studies, Cost Analysis, and Policy Design
- Technology, Technical Change and Issues of the Scale of the New Energy Systems
- Impacts of Climate and Environmental Change, Adaptation, and Feedbacks on the Climate System
- Links of Conventional Air Pollution to Climate, Environmental Impacts, and Mitigation
- Improved Estimation of Earth System Responses
A previous study by MIT has shown that the general public has a poor understanding of climate change (http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/view.php?id=26372), including having no idea what potential benefits might come from carbon-dioxide [CO2] capture and storage (CCS) - one approach being studied by MIT's Laboratory for Energy and the Environment. This promising approach would capture CO2 emissions from large sources that are well known to contribute to global warming, and inject them into geological formations for long-term storage.
All the websites listed above provide many resources for the lay person to become acquainted with climate change and renewable ('clean') energy information and programs. A good place to start is this Top Ten FAQs from MIT:
Then, contact your senator and let them know what you think about the current Climate Change bill.