A Final Question

At last we have a new president—and one who obviously "gets it" about the need for America to change over to a Clean Energy system and renew our national ideals and sense of purpose in the process. With that in mind, I am now going to begin to revise and update Hot, Flat, and Crowded for a new edition and to write the new chapter, Chapter 18. Thanks to all for your contributions; I’ll take up a number of them in the new chapter.

A final question: What is President Obama leaving out? What should he do on the clean energy front that he isn’t already doing?


I just finished reading "Hot, Flat and Crowded and found so much in it that confirms what I already felt on a very general level. YOur knowledge and research filled in the gaps with details on exactly what is happening in other parts of the world, history of Amercia and energy and what exactly we need to do to turn things around. What really struck me was your lament that we couldn't be China for a day and make the rules and get it done. I do believe in democracy, but there are times when giving a good leader the ability to make the change needed and require everyone to do it is the only way to really get the job done. I am curious though why there was no mention of how the way we do factory animal farming impacts the production of greenhouse gases, pollutes rivers and negatively impacts our health. I have become a vegan in light of what I have learned about all the issues - health, cruel treatment of animals and its impact on the environment. I would have thought you would have mentioned at least the environment issue. I had heard the EPA was going to tax each cow as a way to address this issue. I was somewhat disapointed not to read very much about this. Your book should be required reading for the President and actually everyone else. Your book gives me hope and also depresses me actually. I wish we could nominate you King just for our 1 China day.

Emily Garrett (not verified)
February 8th 2009, 12:50 pm

I can also suggest a quote for your new chapter. In the final scene of the 1959 movie "On the Beach" based on a book by Neville Shute of the same name, and concerning a different apocalyptic end, there is an old Salvation Army flag fluttering frantically over a fetid beach in Australia, screaming silently at an empty world, "There's Still Time Brother".

Jon Mathias,
Mexico City

Jon Mathias (not verified)
February 7th 2009, 9:50 pm

Hopefully Mr. Obama will use your book as a clarion call to arms for the Energy-Climate Era as those of an earlier era used "Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson as a call to arms for the environmental issues of her day. Ms. Carson showed that one person such as yourself can make a difference if they speak their truth clearly and succintly as you have. Maybe your next chapter can be titled "Silent Earth."

Jon Mathias
Mexico City

Jon Mathias (not verified)
February 7th 2009, 9:18 pm

Thomas Friedman,

I am a big fan of your books. I especially enjoyed your book, “The World is Flat.” I enjoyed “Hot Flat and Crowded, and would like to share a few of my perspectives.

Cellulosic ethanol uses up valuable farm land that could otherwise be used for food or livestock feed and is also expensive to produce.

Corn based ethanol is NOT a food vs. fuel issue because it only uses the starches to make the ethanol, the rest is turned into dried distillers grain or wet-cake which is intern fed to cattle. Instead of sending money to oil regimes we can help support farmers in the Midwest.

Hybrid cars mean batteries that will one day pollute our land and water supply as they end up in our landfills. The battery needs to be greatly improved in size, weight, recyclability, cost, and lifespan. I believe that this would be a great Manhattan Project or goal to push for in innovation. If we do use more batteries there needs to be a mandate: that all batteries are made so they can be completely recycled, and that they are all recycled.

Florescent light bulbs while they use less energy, also contain mercury which is toxic. I would recommend LED’s for light as they use much less energy and are already being developed for a wide variety of uses.

Wind, solar, wave and geothermal are great resources for energy.

I wish you would have spent more time talking about designing products so that they can be broken into their parts and developed into new products and not into degraded products. This is a great idea and one that we need to follow, especially with more and more countries using more resources.

We must become energy independent and stop sending money in oil revenues to countries that would do us harm. We must improve our educational system promote students to study the Sciences and Engineering and push more money into innovation if we are to remain competitive. We must improve our relations with countries throughout the world.

Thank you for listening to my comments. I am looking forward to your next book.

IM (not verified)
February 7th 2009, 11:22 am

Hi Mr. Friedman,

your books have been such a great inspiration for my professional life. "The Lexus ...", "The world is flat" and now "Hot, Flat ...", that i just got last week and couldn't finish yet.

I am attending a master's course in which my dissertation will cover sustainability on Project Managament, and the green issue is the core of my study. The new book is really fantastic in this point. I loved your post here when you mentioned David Rothkopf's statement: “Is this financial crisis going to be the end of green, or is green going to be how we end this financial crisis?”.

That's, in my point of view, the turning point to put organizations on the "ECE" way, as you say on your new book. Remembering Stephen Schmidheiny's "Changing Course" book, we have to transform the sustainability challenge on a business opportunity. The same way John Elkington covered on "Cannibals with Forks" book, when he put the "Three bottom line" as a strategy, a new behavior for all organizations to reach the real added value for the business and survival on a "red ocean" of capitalism.

I just mentioned some other authors because all of them, including you Mr. Friedman, have been feeding our mind with great ideas and motivation to change our lives. I think, the chapter 18 must address the way America can really transform this challenge on an opportunity. The Obama's Clean energy program must be a starting point to a real chance in which all organizations can transform their concept about value and how it can be, through the innovation, a real drive for a world transformation. I believe on green being the ending point to the finacial crisis, with no more "Americums" but with the real America, the one we love and that must be the leader on this global process.

Thanks for everything.

Mauricio Gouvea - Rio de Janeiro / Brazil

Mauricio Gouvea (not verified)
February 7th 2009, 9:34 am

I heartily agree with Mr. Traylor's suggestion that we institute family planning wherever it is absent in the world. I used to teach high school Biology in West Africa in the 80's, where the subject was taboo and the kids knew nothing about how to control family size.
Some Ideas I hate for our future energy sources:
1) "Clean Coal (underground sequestration of CO2)" Because coal is so cheap and the energy companies so powerful, this "temporary solution", if implemented, is likely to persist for a long time. If that happens, a whole lot of CO2 will be sequestered. Of course, two atoms of oxygen will be buried for every one of carbon. I am not sure how long it would take to deplete the atmospheric oxygen supply, but why substitute a bad problem with a REALLY bad problem.
2) Biofuels These use valuable, scarce cropland and water supplies, thus crowding out fuel production, or use valuable wildlands not yet cultivated. Electric propulsion is far superior, given adequate eletricical energy storage (see previous comments).

Phil Herzog (An... (not verified)
February 6th 2009, 12:37 pm

Perhaps part of the title of the book says it all; "...crowded". Just too much of everything. Green power is great, green vehicles, appliances etc all are great; but why so much? We - particularly in this country, but also a collective global "we", just simply consume too much. We don't need all the cars, TVs, Ipods, etc. Culturally we have confused "need" with "want". As long as we want too much of everything, believing it is all a "need", then that greed will continue to put us in the same boat all over again. That great philosopher, Julia Childs said it best, "everything in moderation". Tough politically, but that is what our new President needs to tell us.

mike miller (not verified)
February 6th 2009, 10:50 am

The problem with renewable energy is that most solutions are deployed on the surface of the earth: wind, solar, hydro, wave, biofuels. The surface of the earth is actually limited. If we litter the globe with solar collectors, windmills and such, we'll still want more. Our desire for energy is unlimited.

In your book, you are looking for clean electrons. The answer is enhanced geothermal power. Enhanced geothermal doesn't scratch the surface at Yellowstone or Iceland, it drills straight down from any spot on earth to the inexhaustibly hot core four thousand miles below. Recent scientific studies have speculated the temperature of the core of the earth is almost as hot as the surface of the sun.

We need only to find a way to safely cycle water or another liquid through this furnace to provide all the turbine-generated electrical power we will ever need.

There are technical difficulties, but they are primarily engineering challenges that do not test the limitations of our current scientific knowledge (improving batteries, for instance). This nation sent 6 teams of astronauts to the moon. We can surely develop a closed loop pipe system that would extend 100 miles into the depths of the earth.

And surely we could accomplish this for less than the cost of a nuclear reactor ($5 billion plus). Learning how to do it once, we can drill beneath every existing coal-fired plant and simply switch over, extending the investment in our current grid.

It's waiting there for us.

Tony Trout (not verified)
February 5th 2009, 9:56 pm

I could make a number of comments about your book, but I want to offer a perspective I don't see in your book, in Washington or in most businesses. The point has to do with the desparate need for a LEADERSHIP PROCESS that facilitates real solutions to real problems. Lawyers doing what lawyers do results in band-aide solutions. If you would like a description of a process, let me know. I think you will see the power, but also the fact that it can work in Washington.

Harry Canfield (not verified)
February 5th 2009, 8:17 pm

Hi Tom,

I'm VP of R&D with a small start-up company headquartered in Boulder, CO, developing and marketing a new line of solar lighting systems for classrooms, offices, and other nonresidential spaces. Like the other small companies like us, we are struggling to get our product successfully launched. We have good investors and many interested prospective customers, including prominent architects, but the current economic climate is inhibiting sales to even the most receptive "early adopters."

I'm also a writer and lecturer on energy and environmental policy, having recently retired after 30 years of service as a Principal Research Scientist at the Florida Solar Energy Center, a research institute of the University of Central Florida. See www.futureofhumanity.org and www.fsec.ucf.edu

I'm distressed that Obama and his new Energy chief seem about to spend huge amounts of money on a nuclear resurgence. There are many problems with this, not to mention the huge expense, the time delay before the investments can start generating revenue, and the relatively few new jobs the industry will create. Then there are the safety and terrorist susceptibility issues.

It seems obvious that more should be done to green the country as you have so eloquently outlined in your book. TVA is jumping onto the nuclear bandwagon. The largest electric utility in the country and it has no Public Utility Commission over it. Only the Congress of the U.S. oversees its operations, and that is very highly politicized and ineffective. Talk to S. David Freeman, previous head of TVA, as I have, about its many recent follies. And now comes the huge toxic waste spill near Kingston.

I had such great hopes that Obama would get the best and the brightest advisers and structure a recovery system that would focus on the principles and recommendations outlined in your book. Well, so much for that.

The big problem as I see it is the nearly insurmountable difficulty we Americans face trying to express intelligent concerns to our new President. The sheer volume of e-mails and saturation of other input channels makes it nearly impossible for any one individual to be heard, unless they can get published where the President is likely to read them or are already so nationally prominent that he has to pay attention to what they say.

This is where you come in. I'd really like to hear your thoughts on how we can help the new administration not become derailed by a terrible war in Afghanistan that can go nowhere or by the many other distractions which could kill the recovery before it gets started. I watched Friday's Bill Moyers Journal report on the coming quagmire in Afghanistan and it made me very worried. If you didn't see it, read the transcript at http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/01302009/tr...

Perhaps forums such as Chapter 18 can funnel the concerns of the public to nationally prominent thinkers, writers, and other influential persons, filter and edit this input, and offer a coherent presentation of the concerns and aspirations of we the people. I hope so.

Dr. Ross McCluney (not verified)
February 5th 2009, 6:02 pm

I have three proposals in mind I would like to see included in President Obama's green agenda.
One would be the price signal (a greenhouse gas emmissions tax levied per mole of gas molecules emitted times the heat trapping ability of each gas) that people from you and George Soros, all the way through society to Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers, have previously suggested. Potentially, this should be easy to collect, very remunerative, and fair in the sense that the offenders pay. The burden of the tax on society may be offset by tax cuts elsewhere. For example, a cut in import tarrifs would help consumers, allow the government to juice the economy without stoking too much inflation (By the way, I think we will have to have a good shot of that to get out of our current economic pickle) and improve our relations with other countries. Politically, if a substantial tax could be imposed, it would show that the President is in charge, and not the energy companies. After all, as an ordinary American, why would I come up with the solution if I am going to get whacked? (abolition of our carbon subsidies would also be useful on this score)
Second, I think we need an X-prize for the cheapest, most portable and most scalable method of storing electricity. Our lack of know-how in this regard is impeding the development of electric cars, lawnmowers, airplanes and ships, and also impedes our adoption of workable but unpredictable means of generating renewable electricity (portability is not a requirement here). An X-prize for the development of a low-emissions way to manufacture cement should also be a priority. The winners surely deserve prizes in the billions of dollars, and this prize money must overcome the fear inherent in dissing the energy companies and some foreign governments. The initial cost of such a program, as Burt Rutan, the aircraft designer, has said, is the cost of a media ad campaign and some mention in the President's speeches.
Third, we should reward nations that protect their forests from clear-cutting and clearing by burning. If they instead were to burn farm waste in electricity plants, and bury the leftover char in the resulting fertilizer ash and give it away, that would actually be carbon negative, and would increase local crop yields.

Thanks for your patience in reading this.

Anonymous (not verified)
February 4th 2009, 1:33 pm

My thoughts align with the Chinese proverb: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

So much energy of so many types is used to help feed the people on this planet. I've watched newscasts all my life about starvation throughout the world and how the USA and others are working to solve the problem. Why can't clean water be supplied across the globe? If we can move oil through pipelines, why not water?

Governments and businesses could take ocean water and pipe it where needed. At the endpoints, desalinization and purification plants could process the water for use. Accessible, clean water could change the world. In addition, ocean levels may be lowered in the process- preventing one of the dire consequences of global warming. Is this a pipedream? Except for cost (!!!!!) and desire, it seems reasonable.

Mary (not verified)
February 4th 2009, 11:18 am

Your suggestions are (finally!) welcome but it must be said that a number of respected biologists produced a number of well-articulated warnings and suggestions back in the 60's and seventies; Paul Erlich, Barry Comoner, Garret Hardin and Kenneth Watt to name a few of thebetter known ones. So you are probably wise to troll the populace to get ready for your Chapter 18, yet I think these suggestions will be ineffective unless the world can agree on a unit of universal value for money which will, by its very nature, automatically ANCHOR our currency to this earth and the solar budget which supports us - thereby forcing some kind of reality on these economic models that have served us so poorly. Denominating the dollar, the Euro, the Yen etc. as “a promise to pay in Calories” as it used to be in gold* would accomplish this as it would still give one the option of redeeming the currency in oil or oats, corn or kilowatts at a fixed exchange rate* and although it would be an unequal burden on the treasuries of different countries (but so is the dollar), the consequences of all trade and business would be far more evident and – I would imagine – less corruptible. As a first benefit it would be understandable and fungible in terms of human NEEDS as
as well as WANTS and thereby more easily establish discernment and priorities between these two human economic “drivers”.
More important of course is that it could be a civil catalyst to help us achieve everything you suggest by living within our “solar” budget. And of course being in units that are universally understood - that can feed or heat us regardless of who we are would foster international understanding and clarify the differences between mere schemes on the one hand and ideas committed to sustainability on the other. It would even help us to define what “sustainability” should mean!
* Has anybody seen what the banks are doing with gold?

Brian D'Aoust (not verified)
February 3rd 2009, 1:55 pm

1) I agree with Mr. Traylor: Tom Friedman's book is a stunner, a must read. However, I was quite puzzled that, especially with the word "Crowded" in the title, he did not address strengthening international family planning programs as a way to reduce energy demand: Why should we accept the UN's prediction of 9.5 billion of us in 2050?; how about 8.5? Several years ago the organization International Planned Parenthood/Western Hemisphere Region reported that millions of couples were being turned away from sources of family planning information and support because these sources had run out of funds to supply this assistance.
2) An eye-catching way for the Obama Administration to demonstrate its support for renewables is for it to announce its intent to set up solar installations on appropriate open federal civilian and military lands, including parking lots, whose energy customers would be nearby, thus avoiding transmission cost and loss. USG orders in high volume should give the solar industry a real shot in the arm.

Peter (not verified)
February 2nd 2009, 11:50 am


Best of luck with your revisions. I think President Obama has sent some good goals. I would like to see some more details - he does not really talk about how he is going to make the country more energy efficient - he really only talks about weatherizing federal buildings. I'd also like to see a revenue plan. Let's incentive the creation of clean technology, sell it to people around the world, apply it to our own nation to make our tax credit dollars worth their while.

Here is what he outlines:

Harvey Printz (not verified)
February 1st 2009, 3:55 pm

He must reach out to the rest of the globe. I remember going back to Nigeria this past summer to hear the news that diesel prices were soaring, my family had gone the past 3 months without power, and that they were avoiding turning on their generators whenever possible (to save fuel and money). I found this chilling for several reasons: Nigeria is one of the world's top oil producers, and not only were we staying in Lagos, a city of some 13 million people, but we were also staying in one of the most affluent parts of the city. If my family members felt reticent about turning on their generators, how could the vast majority of that city's population even dream of having cheap and ready access to those electrons (be they clean or dirty). I know that conditions have changed somewhat since then, but I feel strongly that they may be in the not-so-distant future of our country, if we don't reach out to the rest of the world to help solve the problems of the Energy-Climate Era. Obama needs to know that the developing world can and should play just as big a role in this struggle as the developed-- since we are all sharing the same planet in the end.

Mikael Owunna (not verified)
February 1st 2009, 3:30 am

I think we ought to invest a substantial amount of federal money in ramping up production of thin film photovoltaics. There are several thin film technologies that were developed in the US, and all of them are relatively clean manufacturing processes compared to conventional photovoltaics manufacturing. While thin film PVs are not as efficient as conventional silicon PVs, they are currently 1/10th the cost and efficient over a much broader range of conditions.

Unlike conventional photovoltaic production, which is dominated by the Chinese, the US is way out in front of the world on thin film PVs. With its cheaper cost of production, thin film PVs could make a dent in the global trade imbalance.

Because they are so thin, we can put these new PVs almost anywhere. While Obama is calling for a new, modern electrical grid--to bring power from remote wind and solar/thermal farms, we also need to generate more power closer to where it is being used (with solar and wind). Currently 15% of electrical power in the US is lost in transmission. The solution to the worlds energy problem is right in our own backyards. We should stop talking about reducing our carbon footprint and start talking about carbon negative solutions. With a high enough floor on polluting energy and a falling price of wind and next generation solar, every building could be its own energy source.

Finally, an electrical grid of millions of small small generators CAN NOT work without a complete rethinking of the energy industry. Recently California considered legislation for beyond net metering. Currently net metering allows consumers to offset their electric bills with the amount of power they contribute to the grid with their solar panel. Beyond net metering would require power companies to pay their customers if their rooftop PV generates more power than their house uses in a given month. Beyond net metering (combined with other technologies like time of use metering) would make the electricity market more transparent and efficient. The utilities would increasingly become stewards of the distribution network and suppliers of last resort during peak demand. We must figure out how to make these important tasks worth their while so they will stop standing in the way of more distributed generation solutions.

Andrew Cocke
Principal Here Design

Andrew Cocke (not verified)
February 1st 2009, 2:56 am

If he hasn't read "Hot, Flat, and Crowded" yet, he needs to. There are a great deal of good ideas in there that can make an enormous difference.

One of which is 'Being China for a Day.'

Another thing is to fund the R & D of the young scientists and engineers that are dying to work on sustainable and renewable energy projects, innovations, and development.

Another thing that would be beneficial is to drive Congress to mandate a new mission to the Corps of Engineers to include Renewable and Sustainable Energy Design and Development as one of their missions whether it is hydro (this should be right up their alley but they've never been mandated that as a mission), solar, wind, geo-thermal, or solar thermal. The Corps of Engineers have engineers and scientists in place as well as labs for R&D. They're hiring new engineers right out of college every year. They could lead the way in retrofitting federal, state, and local governmental buildings for more efficient, cleaner, greener cooling, heating, and power usage. They could also be instrumental in aiding and assisting communities and municipalities in establishing and setting up sustainable, renewable energy systems.

Joe Nobiling (not verified)
January 31st 2009, 8:25 pm

1) clean up the messes from the old, dirty energies: a) coal slurry and sludge ponds, 2) nuclear waste, 3) and energy related Superfund sites (good source of green jobs);
2) harness the synergies of thermal depolymerization as a combined clean energy/waste reduction system;
3) forget supporting food-based biofuels;
4) tie international development aid to the renewable energy future (by using aid to leverage, stimulate, and implement renewable technologies appropriate for developing nations),
4) make the White House a showcase of energy efficiency and home-based renewables.

A. Cherson (not verified)
January 31st 2009, 3:41 pm

I have heard that one disadvantage of hybrid cars is toxicity of the batteries and potential problems with disposal of these batteries as hybrids become more popular and the number of batteries for disposal increases. Is there any truth to this issue?

Alan (not verified)
January 31st 2009, 2:16 pm

Most of us were emotionally ill as "W" attempted to add to his petro-legacy by allowing more drilling near our treasured National Parks. However, given a new national power grid, I think that I would be supportive of "clean and unseen" geo-thermal facilities surrounding Yellowstone and other hot spots. Wind and solar are great solutions, but replacing carbon energy as quickly as possible may require multiple efforts. Certainly don't want to pop the balloon, but it could take off some of the pressure. Sincerely, Rick Traylor

Rick Traylor (not verified)
January 31st 2009, 11:19 am

While convinced that a Carbon Tax policy is the most intelligent solution for our future and alternative for the "Dumb" income tax, it seems that our conservation policy must include a mandated recycle policy. Perpetually increasing recycle refunds on every product by unit or weight would seem to create jobs, lower carbon emissions, reduce liter and landfill contamination and use, and restructure personal responsibility. And yes, we live in the country and pick up road liter every week. Sincerely, Rick Traylor

Rick Traylor (not verified)
January 31st 2009, 10:51 am

OK, so what is the energy technology our great-grandchildren use to support their lifestyle? We've got 200 years of coal, supposedly. That's not so long. & we may have hit peak oil already--with several more "Americas" of consumers coming on-line in the next 40 years, as Thomas pointed out in his last book.

How about space solar satellites for cheap, clean electrons? NASA proposals back in the 70's showed them to be cost competitive. And that was without the credit for "No carbon produced by this electric source." No breakthrough technology required (e.g. fusion)--just good engineering development. Heck, a nation that can go from Mercury Redstone bottle rockets to Apollo man on the moon in 10 years (using slide rules and primitive computers) should relish the challenge to regain a leadership role in making a space program pay for itself.
Go check www.ssi.org for some proposals.
The Japanese are studying the option, w/o much publicity: http://www.spacedaily.com/news/ssp-01a.html

Yeah, the first couple are expensive--but the fuel is free, the power is baseload reliable, and the future is wide-open. It should generate a production income to finance the future. Finance it w/ the e-bonds suggested here in the 18th Chapter. Or an "Energy Independence Stimulus Package".

Gets us a better foothold off the planet than we've got now. Enough electricity to work out a carbon capture program to reverse global warming.
Plus energy independence for our grandkids and the rest of humanity.

Arthur Ochoa (not verified)
January 31st 2009, 1:08 am

The Key is Financing!

I agree with your comments in the book on sending the appropriate price signal. I am currently involved in the industry and have developed a few utility scale grid connected projects in South Korea which has a feed-in tariff. Although we are based in Los Angeles we have yet to move forward in SoCal. Why? The current US system of offering tax credits, before the financial crisis, was not an efficient mechanism for raising debt and equity. Now it is dead since their is little appetite because most players do not have a positive tax position to off-set.

If financing cannot be arranged for a 1MW (commercial roof top) or 20MW (utility scale), then developers will not move forward no matter what the incentives, thus module/turbine/etc. will not be able to make sales, causing them to not to expand which leads to the lack of production of "green jobs."

Thus any solution proposed to jump start the creation of green jobs in the USA needs to think through the financial chain.

Outside of price signal, this is the most critical issue and one I think you should address in your next chapter.

Michael Stoddard (not verified)
January 30th 2009, 9:16 pm

I am amazed at the adoration given to a man that has proven nothing with regards to leadership or accomplishments. I hope our new president is successful but I will not blank check his every thought and action. He needs to prove himself and be held to the same harsh standards that our previous president was subjected to. If he fails we need to fire him asap. It seems we are all qucik to lay all of the worlds problems at the feet of the Bush administration. We the voters elected them twice. We are ultimately at fault, we are the ones responsible and we have to be the ones that correct it. Stop blamming others and start taking responsibility for you actions.

Art Brown (not verified)
January 30th 2009, 6:04 pm

I recomend raising federal gas tax $0.05 per month.

Use the funds to promoye vlean energy.

Don Landis (not verified)
January 30th 2009, 5:42 pm

I am super impressed by Obama's new committment to the Energy Revolution. I am glad that he has grasped the concept of our energy dependence and its relation to terrorism. What he is missing is to also implore upon the citizens that because of global warming and our energy dependence, his childrens' children may not be able to see animals in the wild, visit coral reefs, and go on whale watching expeditions. And Obama needs to remind people that global warming and our energy dependence have changed hunting seasons and fish available for consumption. The best way Obama can promote the environment is to promote the "No child left indoors" act and remind people that what we see now may not be what we see in the future and we need to see it to save it.

Coleen Martinez (not verified)
January 30th 2009, 4:14 pm

What he is missing is the educational and motivational component to the plan. We need him to educate and motivate the Americans through a series of seminars, webinars and TV spots.

This IS a complex and multi-faceted issue that will require massive efforts and dare I say, sacrifices from all of us. It will require multiple solutions, and support for failures as well as successes, from us all.

All Americans need to be educated and encouraged by his leadership and the truth. President Obama has the skills, and has recruited many of the experts that can market the needs and the solutions by educating us.

Converse, Invest, Invent, and get us off Foreign Oil first.

Let's show the world how we can Out-Green each other.

Jim Fillman - USA (not verified)
January 30th 2009, 3:55 pm

Have we decided what the goals for America? How can we proceed untill we know where we are going. It seems to me that the administration could list some simple national goals such as the following:
1. This nation should place the good of the people above the good of the corporations.
2. We will lead the world in environmental programs.
3. We believe in fair trade which means we will not import more from a developed country than they import from us.
4. We will not ask the leader of a multinational corporation for advise on national matters.

Well you get the idea. I'm sure that the administration can do better; I would just like to have a list so I can judge how well national political actions and proposed actions match our goals.

Norm (not verified)
January 30th 2009, 2:19 pm

I think one of the most important issues that should not be left out is regulation of clean energy (including oversight and auditing). I am sure the President and his team have a comprehensive plan, but this issue still needs special attention.

I am especially concerned with carbon trading (part of cap-and-trade program, one of the cornerstones of new plan proposed by Dpt. of Energy) and its similarities to various types of exchanges that exist today. From my personal observations, I realize that carbon trading is gaining popularity; it is seen as easy money and since the rules are not well defined yet, almost anybody can jump on board and start trading. There are already lots of intermediaries preparing for brkerage. I am not against the idea of penalizing corporations that exceed carbon limits, and rewarding the ones who save carbon emissions. I fact, I think it is necessary for successful transformation to clean energy. I am only suggesting that trading should be controlled very tightly to prevent misuse and corruption. We now all have an idea of what might happen when trading gets out of control. It should also be kept in mind that other greenhouse gases will follow the carbon model. Consequently, we will have more elements to be capped and traded.

As a final point, I would also like to mention that the ambitious energy plan of the new administration is very pomising, which makes me very optimistic about the future.

Baran Kocal (not verified)
January 30th 2009, 2:15 pm