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The Big Energy Gamble

Program Overview


NOVA examines California's bold initiative to combat global warming by slashing carbon dioxide emissions 30 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.

The program:

  • notes that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger hopes his initiatives will pioneer a route that the rest of the nation, and even the world, will follow.

  • lays out the plan: 20 percent of cuts will come from increasing energy efficiency in homes and offices, 19 percent from providing power through cleaner energy alternatives, 40 percent from cutting automobile emissions, and the rest from other initiatives, such as planting new forests.

  • features steps taken by actor Ed Begley and science educator Bill Nye to make their homes more energy efficient.

  • visits Richmond, California, a low-income community in which residents cannot afford to make the proposed improvements to their homes and comply with the plan.

  • describes how carbon dioxide is produced from the burning of fossil fuels.

  • considers the feasibility of California's plan to replace coal-generated electricity with energy created by wind farms, solar technologies, or nuclear power plants.

  • profiles corporate efforts to become more energy efficient and notes that smaller companies must struggle to make similar improvements.

  • looks at the challenges to reducing car emissions, including the difficulties of convincing Californians to switch to hybrid or all-electric vehicles, downsize their cars, or use mass transit.

Taping Rights: Can be used up to one year after program is recorded off the air.

Teacher's Guide
The Big Energy Gamble?
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