But if a report needs a theme song, then perhaps a massive, multi-part report needs more than a theme song, it might need a whole soundtrack.
On April 4, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is dropping their long-awaited (and certainly massive) report about the solutions needed to stabilize the climate.
This just so happens to be the day after the Grammy Awards will take place.
So, let's just imagine that the Grammys had created a category for "Best Soundtrack for a Scientific Report" and that the Recording Academy had decided to use their considerable platform to spotlight the urgent need to solve the climate crisis and awarded the inaugural winner of that category to the IPCC report's soundtrack.
What would that soundtrack sound like?
What songs would the reports' authors have selected to convey the key messages for "Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment Report for Climate Mitigation?"
Well, hopefully they would have first come up with a catchier title.
How about, Revolution Rock?
Why Revolution? That's because at the heart of solving the climate crisis is the need to rapidly convert our use of energy to renewable, low carbon sources. And there is a renewable revolution underway, featuring the dramatically dropping costs for wind and solar generation and rapid advances in batteries and other technologies.
Below is a song-by-song review of this soundtrack. Together, they weave a song cycle that explores the looming threats facing the planet, the long bumpy road that renewables have traveled, and the brighter future ahead (accompanying playlist here ).
1. Ninth Ward, Emmanuel Jal . A brighter future may lie ahead, but the album opens with storm clouds gathering. Hurricane-strength storm clouds, courtesy of Emmanuel Jal, a former child soldier who escaped his captors in Sudan. On "Ninth Ward" Jal delivers a scathing elegy for that New Orleans neighborhood, which suffered some of the worst losses and disruptions from Hurricane Katrina.
There is a place in New Orleans, they call the Ninth Ward, death and pain from the hurricane, now folks don't live there no more
Everybody else was safe and sound
While men, women, and children of the Ninth Ward drowned
New Orleans is one of the first places in the US to endure a diaspora that will become increasingly common around the world: people leaving home to seek higher, safer ground from inexorably rising seas and steady increases in the intensity of river floods , both driven by climate change. New Orleans today has about 100,000 fewer people than it did in 2005, before Katrina, and less than 40% of the Ninth Ward's citizens returned after the flood .
Jal's searing accusation—why did we look away, why didn't someone do something?— feels like a charge that could be leveled globally as temperatures and seas steadily creep upwards.
We know what needs to be done. To halt the rising waters, we need a wholesale transition to renewable, low-carbon energy.
2. TVA, Drive-By-Truckers . The second song, "TVA" by Drive-By Truckers, examines the current global leader in renewable generation – hydropower. Befitting a song that depicts the hardships of the rural South before electricity, it opens with just a spare acoustic guitar. Over simple strummed chords, singer Jason Isbell recounts boyhood memories of fishing with his dad at Wilson Dam, a hydropower project run by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). But the third verse pivots from childhood nostalgia to the song's deeper meaning: the TVA as savior of his impoverished family—and the whole South. He sings how his granddaddy grew up during the depression: " Not too much to eat for seven boys and three girls; all lived in a tent, a bunch of sharecroppers versus the world. " But then the energy investments from TVA came to the rescue and his grandaddy's dad got work and " he helped build the dam, gave power to most of the South."
At these words, the acoustic guitar is joined by an electric, along with pedal steel, and their chords shimmer and echo like a church organ, swelling to a reverent anthem for the ability of electricity-fueled development to give dignity, hope and prosperity to a whole region.
3. Uncle Frank, Drive-By-Truckers . So, hydropower equals dignity and prosperity, right? Not so fast. The soundtrack's third song features a band offering a dramatically different view of hydropower, this time as a force for disruption and loss. What band stands in such stark opposition to Drive-by Truckers? Well, oddly enough, it's Drive-by Truckers, with their song " Uncle Frank. " If Cormac McCarthy wrote southern rock songs, he just might have come up with this harrowing tale of betrayal, desperation and suicide. And the monolith that condemns Uncle Frank is none other than the TVA – that's right, the same agency we just thanked God for. Rather than a reverent hymn, this TVA inspires snarling, angry guitar lines underpinning the story of an uneducated but self-sufficient man forced to leave his riverside home by the rising waters of a TVA reservoir, a man utterly unprepared to adapt to city life and battered by unfulfilled promises by the dam builders. As "hydro-electric juice" powers up the cities and the kids of doctors and lawyers "learn to water ski" on the reservoir surface, 100 feet above Uncle Frank's former home, he takes his own life:
Uncle Frank couldn't read or write, so there was no note or letter found when he died
… just a rope around his neck, and the kitchen table turned on its side.
So, hydropower development can uplift regions, but it can also leave victims in its wake, including displaced people and a range of environmental resources, such as migratory fish and free-flowing rivers.
The rest of the songs on Revolution Rock wrestle with this challenge that Drive-by Truckers has thrown down: how can renewable energy development give society the uplift of "TVA" without the losses of "Uncle Frank"?
4. Catch the Wind, Donovan and Waiting for the Sun, the Doors . The next two songs strive, but fail, to resolve the challenge. Both speak to hopeful optimism for other renewable technologies left unfulfilled. In " Catch the Wind ," Donovan sets his heart on attaining "the sweetest thing", but wistfully laments he "may as well try to catch the wind." I think it's pretty clear he's slyly referencing the high cost of wind energy for much of the past half century.
In " Waiting for the Sun " the Doors repeat the word "waiting" about 10 times in a row. We get it: you're waiting for solar power to become cost competitive and it just hasn't. For most of the twentieth century, solar power languished as an expensive niche product, perpetually waiting for its big break.
So wind and solar aren't going to break on through to the other side of the "TVA"-"Uncle Frank" energy conundrum.
5. Revolution, The Beatles . But that was yesterday. Side one of Revolution Rock ends with the jolt of one of history's great guitar riffs followed by the hair-raising scream of someone grabbing a high voltage line. The Revolution has arrived, and it's the Beatles who bring the news, old boy.
Though released in 1968, " Revolution " uncannily anticipates today's renewable revolution:
You say you want a revolution, well, you know, we all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction, don’t you know that you can count me out
Don’t you know it’s gonna be all right, all right, all right
You say you got a real solution, Well, you know We’d all love to see the plan
The renewable revolution shifts the energy equation for countries, who can now avoid hydropower dams that displace people or fragment free-flowing rivers; instead they can maximize investment in wind and solar energy, both of which have abundant availability on already developed land . So yes, if you want to talk about destruction, you can count me out.
Then the Beatles pivot from romanticism—"you know it's gonna be all right"—to realpolitik, acknowledging that a "real solution" will require some comprehensive strategies by government, the private sector, and financial institutions – and "we'd all love to see" that plan.
6. Here Comes the Sun, The Beatles and Windfall, Son Volt . Side two of the compilation serves up songs that focus on the solutions previewed in "Revolution." Picking up from that song's refrain, the Beatles continue to reassure us that "it's all right" because " Here Comes the Sun ." Similarly, in the song " Windfall ," the band Son Volt (bonus points for its renew-a-philic name) offers a breezy benediction: "may the wind take your troubles away." Unlike side one's pairing of wind and solar lamentations, these two songs celebrate optimism fulfilled, reflecting the fact that wind and solar now represent nearly two-thirds of all new global capacity for energy generation in recent years.
7. Sunshine Sometimes, Bedouine . But the singer Bedouine reminds us that the dramatic rise in wind and solar investment does not mean the renewable future is simple, or assured. As her song, " Sunshine Sometimes," suggests, the sun doesn't always shine (and the wind doesn't always blow). But we expect electricity to be available on demand, whenever we want it; as she sings, "I'd still like to see you tonight." If all we had were solar panels, we wouldn't see much of anything at night.
8. Pump It Up, Elvis Costello . No fear, Elvis Costello comes to the rescue with his 1978 hit " Pump it Up ," which has been interpreted as a double-entendre laced send-up of hedonism but, if you squint at it just right, also serves as a paean to pumped storage hydropower. As Costello snarls, "Pump it, when you don't really need it," one can envision a pumped storage project transferring water uphill from a lower reservoir to an upper reservoir when energy is in surplus (and "you don't really need it") – such as the middle of the day when solar panels are generating at full capacity. Then, as the sun sets, the pumped storage project allows the water to flow back downhill, generating electricity when you do really need it. Storage—including pumped storage but also batteries and other methods—along with a diverse range of technological advances in managing demand will be crucial for maximizing the proportion of wind and solar (the technologies with generation that varies over time) that can be added into a power grid.
9. Revolution Rock, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs . Fittingly, the soundtrack concludes with " Revolution Rock ", a cover of the Clash song by Los Fabulosos Cadillacs. The lyrics touch on key themes, such as avoiding destruction of rivers: "Y estas tan lejos de este río (And you’re so far from this river)". The song is jubilant but ragged, flirting with crashing spectacularly a few times before rebounding and echoing the Beatles, "Y todo va a estar bien (everything is gonna be alright)."
The song's trajectory offers hope to the renewable revolution: it won't be smooth or easy, and there will be setbacks along the way. But ultimately
Tell your mamma, tell your papa,
Everything gonna be alright
Listen to it, don't ignore it,
Everything gonna be alright.
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And The Grammy Goes To...the IPCC For (Renewable) Revolution Rock have 2190 words, post on www.forbes.com at March 31, 2022. This is cached page on VietNam Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.