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"NATIONAL CLEAN ENERGY SUMMIT: Gore argues for alternative power, conservation"

NATIONAL CLEAN ENERGY SUMMIT: Gore argues for alternative power,

conservationClimate change, dwindling petroleum reserves among reasons cited for going

green(By Jennifer Robinson via Las Vegas Review-Journal)An all-day Monday powwow featuring some of the country's best-known

policymakers yielded an array of suggestions for boosting the nation's

green-energy economy.The suggestions from more than 25 panelists and speakers at the National

Clean Energy Summit 2.0 could substantially help shape proposed federal

legislation in the next year. If Monday's discussions offer any indication,

Americans can expect a coming congressional emphasis on home and office

weatherization, a focus on finding dollars for alternative-energy power

plants, carbon cap-and-trade regulations and creation of a national

renewable energy portfolio mandate for electric utilities.But first, former Vice President Al Gore, a longtime advocate of green

economic measures, made the case for advancing alternative energy and

conservation.It sounds "shrill" to say global warming threatens human civilization, but

the alarmist nature of the message is no reason to discount it, Gore told a

sold-out crowd of 900 inside Cox Pavilion at the University of Nevada, Las

Vegas.A week-old study on the world's oil supply found the planet's petroleum

reserves dwindling faster than previously thought, Gore said. That means

more roller-coaster rides in oil prices, and future energy shocks for

consumers.Humans also dump 70 million tons of planet-warming pollution into the

atmosphere every 24 hours, Gore said."This is madness," Gore said. "We owe it to ourselves, our children and our

grandchildren. Who are we to make the decision to keep on being so wasteful

and destructive in the teeth of warnings from every single prestigious

science organization on this planet? Our kids will ask, 'Didn't you know?

Didn't you care? Didn't you notice the thousand-year-droughts and the

500-year floods? What were you all doing, watching 'American Idol'?'"UNLV professor Keith Schwer also addressed the crowd, noting that Clark

County's unemployment rate is 12.3 percent, and the region could use the

economic boost that would come with a greener economy.Schwer said Las Vegas and Nevada ranked as the country's fastest-growing

state in the last several years of the 20th century because of its

entrepreneurial spirit and its citizens' ability to find advantages other

states didn't have.Southern Nevada should now turn that entrepreneurial spirit toward green

energy, Schwer said. Focusing on renewables such as solar power and wind

energy would make the Silver State an exporter of energy, similar to Texas

and Oklahoma.There will be job upheaval for older sectors of the economy, Schwer said,

but that was the case for makers of buggy whips when the automobile emerged

as an economic and industrial force."We shouldn't be afraid of that," Schwer said. "We should continue to make

transformations to drive the economy and make sure we have economic

prosperity for our grandchildren."John Podesta, a former White House chief of staff and current chief

executive officer of the Center for American Progress Action Fund,

emphasized the boost weatherization efforts would provide the nation's

economy. Retrofitting 50 million homes and small commercial buildings would

create 625,000 jobs in construction and manufacturing, and would save

consumers up to $64 billion a year.Senate Majority Harry Reid, D-Nev., and the event's host, noted that Monday

was the anniversary of the day in 1776 that word of the American colonies'

Declaration of Independence reached London."We're firing the first shots of a new revolution to regain prosperity and

restore American leadership," Reid said. "It's a clean-energy revolution to

create millions of jobs nationwide and thousands of jobs in Nevada -- good,

new jobs in construction, manufacturing and engineering."Plus, those jobs couldn't be outsourced.Reid al