Finding solutions to climate change might be as simple as ride down the street

Last week, Google announced an ambitious plan to invest in a new energy infrastructure that will allow for the delivery of energy harnessed with wind turbines off the East Coast of the United States. The future of wind power is unclear, but one thing is certain: wind must be an important part of any energy solution.

One of the big reasons politicians give for why we cannot fight climate change is this: we can’t do it. The technology just is not there, skeptics say. Here’s a fact to dispute that assertion: if wind turbines were installed along the entire coast of the United States, they would generate more energy than the entire United States uses each year.

Or how about solar roadways? If we retrofitted the entire interstate highway system with them, we’d be able to power the country solely off the energy they produce.

Now of course neither of these solutions is practical. All the asphalt of the interstate system will not be replaced by solar panels and we will not cover the entire coastline with wind turbines. But imagine if we cover just 1/10 of the coastline? The amount of energy that would create is mind-boggling.

We cannot rely on companies like Google to take the big steps. Companies are erratic – sometimes they do the right things, but too often they do not. The biggest steps must be taken by us, the citizens of the world. If we lead the way, the money and the politicians will follow.