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ARPA-E: How the Government Agency With a Name Out of Lost Could "Win the Future" and Save Humanity [Updated]

Get to know the new agency that swinging for the clean energy fences.


[Updated] If you haven't heard of ARPA-E yet, it's high time you get to know it. The acronym breaks down as the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy. It's sort of a descendant of the old wildly successful DARPA program that famously birthed the internet, amongst many other pretty phenomenal technological breakthroughs.

The basic premise of ARPA-E, launched under the Department of Energy in 2009, is in investing in high risk, high reward energy tech research. The so-called "breakthrough" technologies that no private investor of sound mind would ever touch, but which could prove world changing solutions to our energy and climate woes. All home runs here, no base hits.

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"Better Buildings Initiative" and "Innovation Cluster" Announced By President Obama [Updated] Obama's New "Better Buildings Initiative" Is Long Overdue, and Will Save Us Billions

President Obama's new initiative makes lots of sense: Commercial buildings account for 20 percent of the energy consumed in the country.


[Updated with video of the talk: 2/8/2011] President Obama just wrapped up a speech at Penn State University where he announced the creation of a "Better Buildings Initiative" to incentivize weatherization and energy efficiency retrofitting for commercial buildings. This is good news considering that commercial buildings currently account for roughly 20 percent of the energy consumed in the whole of the U.S. economy.

The president emphasized that efficiency means less costly waste, and that the aim of the program would be to make commercial buildings 20 percent more efficient nationwide. This would reduce companies’ energy bills by about $40 billion a year, money that could be much better spent on hiring new employees and expanding business.

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Good Green Jobs News for Your Friday Afternoon

There's good news—economic and environmental—out there on the green jobs front.

I was just about to write a post about a terribly depressing new climate science draft paper (PDF) by James Hansen and Makiko Sato about how we're sitting right at a tipping point that, when crossed, will all but guarantee multi-meter (as in six feet plus) sea level rise this century. And then I thought—it's Friday afternoon, and Friday afternoon is no time for depressing climate science.

Instead, here are some uplifting stories of the resiliency of clean and green tech jobs in the face of nationwide recession.

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