WH Science Adviser: ‘Cars, Trucks and Planes Are Going to Have to Run on Electricity, Biofuels or Hydrogen'

Penny Starr | June 16, 2015 | 6:58pm EDT
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White House science and technology advisor John Holdren. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – John Holdren, President Barack Obama’s top science and technology advisor, said at a White House summit on clean energy on Tuesday that a “global low-carbon economy” by the year 2050 means that “cars, trucks and planes” will be powered by “electricity, biofuels or hydrogen.”

“As we all know, a global low-carbon economy in 2050 is going to have to meet the energy needs of 9 or 10 billion people using technologies that will have to be more advanced than the technologies that are in place today,” he said. “Buildings, agriculture, machines must be dramatically more energy-efficient.”

“Cars, trucks and planes are going to have to run on electricity, biofuels or hydrogen,” Holdren said. "Electricity generation is going to need to come primarily from renewables and nuclear energy.

“The emissions from most of the remaining fossil fuel combustion are going to need to be diverted permanently from the atmosphere,” Holdren said.

At the summit, staged to announce $4-billion in private sector investment in clean energy research and development and announce executive actions taken by Obama to increase the federal government’s role in investing and developing clean energy, Holdren said money is needed to get new technologies through the “valley of death.”

“Even bigger than the challenge of funding for research, development and demonstration is the challenge of the valley of death – finding the capital to move innovations through that valley across to commercial success on the other side,” Holdren said. “And this, of course, is where the role of financing and the focus of this summit.”

According to the Institute for Energy Research, using data from the federal U.S. Energy Information Administration, 95 percent of the U.S. transportation sector consumption is fossil fuels – coal, oil and natural gas – with only five percent coming from alternative energy sources.

Fossil fuels also meet around 82 percent of U.S. energy demand, according to the federal government.

The IER website also states: “Despite the rapid growth of global demand for petroleum products, the EIA estimates that less than half the world’s total conventional oil reserves will have been exhausted by 2030. These estimates include existing oil reserves and anticipated reserves resulting from new technologies and discoveries. World oil reserves at the end of 2014 totaled 1655.56 billion barrels, over 3.1 times their level in 1971. The world’s oil reserves have steadily increased even in the face of rising consumption.”

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