This morning, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPAE) Energy Innovations Summit will begin. This annual three-day event brings together many of the world’s leading thinkers, scientists, tinkerers, business-process gurus when it comes to leap-frogging the United States (and the world) into a new (cleaner, efficient, effective, less expensive, …) energy future. Not unreasonably, the conference subtitle:
The premier event dedicated to transformational energy solutions.
Wandering the Summit’s ‘trade-show’ (“Showcase“) is enough to blow even the most brilliant mind — with many booths manned by PhDs working at the leading edge of opportunities to move 21st laboratory work into the real world. From building energy information management systems to better drill bits to plant-based chemicals for displacing highly-polluting ones to solar-based liquid fuels to …, the possibilities for transforming the world just from these booths can (at least for this author) take the breath away. That’s the trade-show — easy to have conversations with top-tier investors providing insights on the hows and whys of leaping the innovators’ Valley of Death to top bureaucrats managing programs to university researchers to listening to speakers like the Terminator can give hope for opportunities to move into a prosperous, Climate-Friendly future.
The Summit occurs each year at National Harbor, just outside DC in Prince George’s County, MD. What just finished there? A dystopian window on the ‘intellectual’ world of the nepotistic, kleptocratic Trump-ista kakistocracy*. Dominated by fossil fools who falsely state (either simply based on outdated information or a passion for #AlternativeFacts deceit) that solar (pv), wind, and other clean energy options are unaffordable (too costly) and who don’t just ignore fossil fuel externalities but assert that we should subsidize them (with deceptive statements about CO2 as ‘plant food‘ and ‘CO2 not a pollutant‘), CPAC has seemingly — in the words of @TeamTrump’s KellyAnne Conway — transformed into a North Korean autocratic-like environment of TPAC: Trump Political Action Conference. In stark contrast to ARPAE’s incredibly science rich environment, CPAC is dominated by (climate) science disdain and denial — #AltTruth and #AlternativeFacts dominate. This dark space, with Trump advisor Steve Bannon arguing that core to the Trump regime will be ‘deconstruction’ of government agencies, makes clear that the agenda is to be turning the United States back to the 19th century not just when it comes to polluting energy but across a much broader space.
As I now head out to the ARPAE Summit, what are some expectations:
- Amazing opportunity to learn about new technologies, business processes, opportunities that boost economic performance (and national security and …) while helping to address (reduce, mitigate, …) climate change and other environmental impacts.
- Will leave with stories to share (look to the blog in coming days) and many new contacts for the years to come (sources, collaborators, …).
- That the halls will be filled with uncertainty as to ARPAE’s (and, well, the nation’s) future under the Trump team.
* If you are not aware of the term, kakistocracy is one of the most important terms for understanding Team Trump;
— A Siegel (@A_Siegel) December 4, 2016