Irvine CA

2009 Induction Ceremony, NAE Annual Meeting

Charles Vest addresses the 2009 Inductee Class on Competitiveness and Innovation
National Academies Beckman Center

In his New York Times column one year ago, Tom Friedman contrasted the Wall Street bailout with the need for a green future. He wrote, “… we don’t just need a bailout. We need a buildup. We need to get back to making stuff based on real engineering not just financial engineering.”

That was one year ago.

Two weeks ago, he wrote about the visionary work one of our fine Silicon Valley companies is doing to produce photovoltaic solar cells. A great story, but every manufacturing job associated with it is in another country, e.g. Germany. Friedman then noted that while many in the U.S. continue to treat renewable energy largely as a fairy tale, the renewable energy industry in Germany, with more than 50,000 new jobs, is now, second only to their automobile industry.

What is this about?

It is a harbinger of a nation that has for too long ignored many of the greatest challenges of our age. It is ... More