International Energy Alliance co-founder and executive board member, Andrew Hunter, gave a keynote speech at the 2012 Sino-American Juvenile International Energy Alliance Environment Conference. His message encouraged others to work together and seek outside assistance when taking action in helping our environment. He then discussed three significant reasons for moving away from oil and suggests renewable energy sources can be part of the solution. A complete copy of his speech is shown below.
Energy and Environment, Global Economics, and International Government Policies
Hello to all of you. My name is Andrew Hunter. I am seventeen years old and I am currently a student both at Aliso Niguel High School and at the University of California at San Diego, and I am one of the co-founders and executive board members of the International Energy Alliance.
I thought I would start this speech by first telling you about the evolution of my environment interest and how this led me to help form the International Energy Alliance. My hope is that you can begin to see how similar goals can be obtainable to you as well my fellow students. Then I will take a moment to focus on our need for renewable energy sources.
My interest in sustainability and preserving our environment dates back to my elementary school days. It came from the strong influence my teachers had on me –and I am immensely grateful to my teachers for this.
It was in middle school that I started to actually actively work towards lessening our impact on the environment. As a PTSA committee co-chair, I helped originate and develop the PTSA’s Green and Recycling Program at my middle school which then went on to become the model for many other schools in my school district. During my middle school environment endeavors, I learned the immensely important lesson that no one can save the environment entirely on his or her own. I learned that not only does it take more than one individual volunteer working at ground level, but it also takes help from entities such as environment groups, community volunteer groups, and government agencies.
So shortly thereafter, I began to intern for various government officials –first a California State Assemblywoman (Diane Harkey), then for a California State Senator (Mimi Walters), and finally for a United States Congressman (John Campbell). I give my thanks to these representatives of the people for allowing me to have this eye-opening experience. I learned how the government can have a positive role in helping us to protect the environment.
In high school I began a new internship with my city’s urban planning department. A short time later while participating in an energy/environment study through Tongji University in Shanghai, HPP Architects in Germany, and various energy consultants from around the world I made another vital discovery —energy is something that needs to be strongly considered not only when designing and planning a city, but also when addressing virtually any aspect of reducing our carbon footprint.
The culmination of what I had experienced and learned over the past five years enabled me to draw a final conclusion: energy not only plays a vital role in our environment, but also in global economics and international government policies. It was with all of this in mind that my peers and I decided to create the International Energy Alliance.
At the International Energy Alliance, we believe it is clear that a partial solution to our energy problems is to transition from traditional energy sources to renewable energy sources, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions, ending dependence on foreign oil, and eliminating world record transferring of wealth from countries importing oil to countries producing oil.
The necessity of reducing greenhouse gasses is clear. Hundreds of leading climate scientists from around the world say with near absolute certainty that humans are causing the significant global temperature change that is occurring during this century.
The United States’ dependence on foreign oil has caused major problems in the area of national security. According to a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the United States faces a grave national security threat from its dependence on energy derived from oil. Many criticize the Gulf War and the Iraq war to be the result, at least in part, of our oil dependency.
Petroleum-exporting nations including Saudi Arabia and Russia are charging record high prices for fuel. Oil consumers are pumping trillions of dollars into the coffers of oil companies and oil-producing nations this year alone, which amounts to the largest transfer of wealth in all of history.
Fortunately, there is a solution and there is hope. Renewable energy technology is advancing quickly. While the cost of oil and nonrenewable energy sources is increasing, the cost of renewable energy is decreasing. Experts advising the United Nations say that renewable sources could deliver nearly eighty percent of world’s total energy demand by the middle of the century.
Renewable energy sources are not without potential environmental drawbacks such as the large amounts of land required to place solar panels, or the effect placing a dam on a river has on the surrounding area. However, as President Obama has demonstrated by working with numerous environment groups in an effort to create balance, building and placement of renewable energy technology can be done with sensitivity towards potential negative environmental issues.
For all of these reasons, it seems clear that it now makes sense for the United States and other countries to accelerate the transition from traditional energy sources to renewable energy sources.
Let me close with asking you to consider joining the International Energy Alliance. The goal of this alliance is to provide a place where students, advisors, and supporters can respectfully provide knowledge, raise awareness, encourage involvement and momentum, and exchange information and ideas on a local, national and global scale which will lead to logical change and ultimately a smaller carbon footprint on our planet. We at the International Energy Alliance hope to hear from you in the future.
Thank you again.