By Michael Stebbins, orginally published at Scientists & Engineers for America Action Fund

As the sweat-soaked crowd entered the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall, to hear Al Gore’s energy challenge they were greeted by a blast of air conditioning. Relief! Sweet ironic relief! DC is obscenely hot today, yet, thousands of people were lined up along the street to hear Gore issue what was promised, a truly grand challenge. They were not disappointed.

Al Gore issued the challenge of our lifetime…

“Today I challenge our nation to commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean  carbon-free sources withing 10 years”

What does he mean? solar, wind and geothermal power.

How does he envision paying for it? Carbon Taxes (along with a drop in payroll tax.) There was very little detail other than that and we can predict the rhetoric on this particular part of the challenge. It will be expensive, no question about it, but I have yet to hear a way that we will be able to deal with global warming and our dependence on foreign oil without spending some serious cash on R&D.

Gore also called for a overhaul of our energy grid and the creation of a Unified National Grid. No question. This needs to happen.

As for political will, Gore called politics the biggest barrier to change and referred to the call for more drilling as a means to lowering gas prices “perverse,” because it will take too long and increased production will never keep up with demand, thus prices are unlikely to go down.

“To those who say the challenge is not politically viable: I suggest they go before the American people and try to defend the status quo. Then bear witness to the people’s appetite for change.”

The call to citizens was also clear.

“I ask you to join with me to call on every candidate, at every level, to accept this challenge–for America to be running on 100 percent zero-carbon electricity in 10 years. It’s time for us to move beyond empty rhetoric.”

My challenge to you…if your candidate for office accepts Gore’s challenge, update the SHARP Network with it. Everyone should know where their candidates stand on this challenge, so if you find out that your congressman or candidate has either accepted Gore’s challenge or rejected it, let us know so we can spread the word.