A Quick Note

I want to thank all the early posters for their ideas for Chapter 18. This was an experiment on my part, but the early response is really encouraging: serious people are contributing serious ideas. Thanks and please keep the cards and letters coming, especially as you have had a chance to finish the book.

Best wishes, Tom Friedman

Ideas:

I was looking for a contact point and found this site. Actually, I am not replying to this site, but I have some comments on one of your books, "From Beirut to Jerusalem". I am fairly new at writing on the computer. If this is not the proper way to contact you, I sincerely beg your pardon. If you have read this far, may I continue?
I bought the book in a DAV store for a couple of bucks. I am a conservative Christiam (Southern Baptist), and so reading of the events in Israel is very interesting to me, even if it is over 20 years old.
My question to you is, how would you summarize what has happened in the interim? As I read your recommendations, I suppose one would have to say the parties involved have not exactly followed your suggestions.
Has their been a follow-up book? (I am 'thrifty', OK, so I am cheap, but out of curiosity and desperation, I MIGHT be willing to pay retail.)

Sincerly, Jim Hornback

Anonymous (not verified)
July 23rd 2010, 7:08 pm

Along with many others I was dismayed with the lack of progress made at Copenhagen. But it is no wonder! In a recent issue of Scientific American Jeffery Sachs states that “only one third of the U.S. public believes that man-made climate change is even real”.

Selling climate change has not been overlooked; it has just not been effective and is probably too academic. Add to this the disinformation put out by the opposition and you have “global warming” being “swift-boated”.

Consider the success of the anti-smoking campaign over the tobacco industry. It started out selling "unhealthy" to people, who were not only disbelievers, but were addicted as well. Can’t we take a lesson here? It seems people like it better when they sold something rather than being informed!

What is needed is a united effort of interested foundations and organizations to pool resources for a focused campaign. And to bring this together, a lead foundation is needed that has the credibility and prestige to attract others.

This approach could applied to topics as well.

Dick Gross (not verified)
February 26th 2010, 4:46 am

How about in Chapter 18 you face your critics, Mr Friedman. You are cited more so than any other media pudit as somebody who can never admit his errors when it comes to perspective on current events and analysis when it comes to prognostications. I would describe your level of commentary as modulating between populist cheer-leading for the pro-growth western consumerism and gee-wiz reductionism of complex histories and power struggles to nifty sound bites. While your arrival to Green politics and economics is welcome, I am uneasy with your characterisation of various issue within. And it sits very uneasily with your rampantly uncritical globalisation attitudes which you are yet to reconcile from what I have read. But hey, it's all good if you never look back!

One example. Last two decades saw the rise of the semi-conductor based tech 'revolution' – your prediction: next two decades will see decline of IT and massive growth in Green economies. You miss the point entirely.

It's the whole of the economy that simple must green if the notion of growth itself is to have any validity going forward. From organic agriculture to the most high tech industries the old ways of man over nature must be questioned. This will not happen at the expense of IT. IT made huge growth because it was able to deliver unmatchable efficiencies and multiplys human labour and effectiveness. (ie. Moores Law gave repeated economic benefits) This will not cease in a green economy. Take microcontrolers that presently cost around $100. Shortly they will cost $1 and be self networking/organising and not confined to white goods and cars. This proffers huge energy and water efficiencies as all manner of manual devices can become controlled from the cloud to use energy and water more wisely. So growth in IT in this case delivers a benefit to the environment without any Green economist going near the issue. It's already happening too.

I guess if you play a part bringing very conservative (read right-wing give-me-more self-wealth as opposed to conserving types) people to the acceptance of global warming induced climate change and peak oil well and good but it wouldn't hurt you to take a good look in the mirror in chapter 18. Then you might see it's not all about T Friedman and what he thinks today as opposed to tomorrow.

Best of Luck with your green intentions.

Alastair (not verified)
September 2nd 2009, 6:22 am

I noticed that you omitted any discussion of sunspot cycles in Chapter 5 and instead described Milankovitch cycles as the only source of variation in solar input. Obviously Milankovitch cycles are so long-term that they could not possibly explain any recent variation in earth temperatures, but at least some scientists believe that sunspot activity does actually explain much of the variation that we see in climate over decades. Milankovitch cycles could not likely explain the Maunder Minimum, for example. Don't misunderstand me, I think it is imperative that we address CO2 emissions because of their potential long-term impact, but gradually rising CO2 levels only explain rising temperatures - they do not explain falling temperatures. The earth has historically seen both, even enough to notice in recent decades. Something else is going on. In the 2009 edition of the Old Farmers Almanac there is an article by Joseph D'Aleo that shows a much greater correlation between solar activity and ocean temperatures than any correlation with CO2 levels. The article seems to make a lot of sense, but I may be missing some key element. I would be very interested in knowing what your take on the author's premise is and why you did not include a discussion of sunspots in your book.
Thanks for a great book. I hope it is taken seriously by those who are in a position to make a difference. I agree with your contention that a price signal is essential.

R. England (not verified)
January 28th 2009, 3:13 pm

Dear Mr. Friedman;

I have read, and thoroughly enjoyed, many of your books. I am presently enjoying 'Hot, Flat, and Crowded' and hope you have sent copies to the world's most influential and powerful people, with some incentive for them to actually read it. I am not finished but must comment on one conclusion that is jarring to me. In Chapter 8 you cite instances where inventions get improved - cell phones, laptops, air conditioners - as examples of "precisely the kind of innovation we need ... right now ..." You then suggest - and this is what is jarring - that the way to "stimulate this kind of innovation" is by tax incentives, regulatory incentives, mandates, and market-shaping mechanisms. Is it not clear that it is precisely the ABSENCE of such interventions that permitted the aforementioned inventions to flourish? I am a professional Industrial Designer and have observed the development of products and processes for more than 40 years. Technological progress occurs fastest in those products and industries that are NOT hampered by regulatory interference and other "market-shaping mechanisms". I suspect that is why the price of computers, home appliances, etc. have fallen, and their performance vastly improved, while the price of cars has risen, even though they all incorporate similar materials and technologies. Cars are heavily mandated, computers are not.

Is it possible that your prescription for "government-funded" (read: taxpayer-funded) research and market-shaping might be more of an anchor than an impetus? I believe that what is necessary is for government and other 'we-know-what's-best' agencies to simply get out of the way.

Personally I was interested in upgrading our home this past year by incorporating either, or both, solar power and ground-source heat pump technologies. I abandoned those notions once I discovered the magnitude of red tape, approvals, regulations, and tax implications that would be encountered.

The 'flat' world you have amply identified is largely the result of the absence of interference in the development of information and communication technologies. It will work just as well for the development and distribution of green technologies.

Keep up the good work!
Sincerely;
Bob

Bob S. (not verified)
January 16th 2009, 9:58 pm

Dear Tom,

I enjoyed your book. Kudos.

Chapter 18 should be more about CHANGE and less about HOPE. Life is a game you play to win. We need to focus on playing our best; not soothing our fears while the clock is running out. The final score only matters to the scorekeepers. Don't let the readers think that either extreme (optimism or pessimism) is an option. Be the "skunk at the garden party" and let her rip. The garden is a place to grow veggies, not drink booze. You don't need to be re-elected by popular votes… oh yeah, you just need to write popular books.

I suggest while you compile inputs for Chapter 18, (and we all watch the financial meltdown, listen to more pleas for green R&D and keep track of extinctions) that you clarify what actions are regionally appropriate for retrofitting existing homes. There were 120M housing units in the US. In a good economy we built 2M new ones a year. As homeowners, we need to find some local guidance and then go spray some foam in out tents like your soldier in Iraq. Americans whose Heating Degree Days far outnumber their Cooling Degree Days can take immediate action to replace their fossil fuel heating systems. If your new geothermal heating/cooling ground-loop system is anything like Gdubyah's and Al Gore's then you've done the math and can share your "work-in-progress". There are Climate Action" groups in every state that have constructive suggestions that can be immediately implemented, but like in real estate it's all about "location, location, location"… solar thermal and PV, biomass and geothermal are great examples. Down south or wherever it's windy and they must have AC then wind turbines are a big hit. The IRR from many of these local solutions is sufficient now but would be greatly improved even if only the threat of a likely, sizeable progressive carbon-tax were reported. I heard Obama was going to veto all other bills until the carbon-tax was in place. Didn't you hear it too? Obama can promise it will happen for now. (You and he can promise to both take up "desert golf" if it doesn't happen). You can't lose! Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

A "sober optimist" (ref pg 411) from Bethesda, MD might really impress the rest of us if he redesigned his household so that it's inhabitants' account for only 3000 lbs CO2 per year on average. More solar PV, windmills, larger geothermal heat pumps, in-law apartments, low rent room for the homeless, manure composting, biochar, energy cabins, etc.

Chapter 18
----should point to 350.org to help us all understand that "Better is the enemy of good enough". Your new house is "better", but as a leader in the new Era, 3000 ppm of CO2 per household member is sustainable until most of those wedges are in place by 2050.

--- can also clarify that American households / homeowners are the biggest offenders BUT they are the soldiers that will sacrifice and win the war. Those wedges will only be the Atomic Bomb that end its. No doubts.

Cheers and Best Wishes

Randy Brown (not verified)
January 16th 2009, 4:13 pm

Seems like I get enough thinking/pondering about what's going on in the world as a part of my job that most of the reading I do on my own time is fiction - anything to take my mind OFF of the business/energy/environmental issues we face for 30 minutes a day. When the Chairman of the company I work for gave me a copy of "Hot, Flat and Crowded" I joked that it sounded like the title of a Paris Hilton biography. Perhaps I needed that bit of 'fiction' to get me started. But start reading I did - and I surprised myself by making it all the way through. A tribute to you Tom for writing in an inspiring way about perhaps the most important topic that we all face.

Two thoughts/ideas for you as you/we look at what's next. It seems to me that you didn't peel the onion back quite far enough in the book. First -- we can 'green' til the cows come home - and it's the right thing to do - but if we don't do something about controlling population on the planet, we'll still find ourselves with the same set of problems environmentally. The average age of a first time mom on the planet is some ridiculously low number like 14. In most cases I don't think having a baby was her idea. How do we tackle/solve that problem? Second -- I can't see how in this country we'll ever get our elected officials to do the right thing for the long term good of the planet and the country unless we have term limits. You speak of incentives and price signals. Well - our elected officials aren't very good at solving our problems. Why? They have no incentive to do that. The have a BIG incentive to GET RE-ELECTED. So that's what they're good at. Without term limits -- which allow elected officials to make the right decisions without regard to getting re-elected -- I think it will be very difficult to make many of the changes you describe in your book.

So - how 'bout tackling population control/decline and term limits in the next book?

Michael Yount, Charlotte, NC

Michael Yount (not verified)
January 15th 2009, 6:22 am

My wife gave me your book for Christmas, and I am about halfway through it. Although I should probably finish it first, I feel compelled to write. I think this work is one of consequence and great significance because it ties together the issues of global warming, geopolitics, and the world economy in an interconnected manner that is all to absent in today's dialogue and conversation. Each of these concepts is too often tossed around in political terms in a small-bore approach, as if one didn't have anything to do with another. I appreciate your way of weaving your personal anecdotes with facts and figures. This aspect of your writing not only maintains the reader's interest and attention, but provides readers like myself with information I can use in family conversations with those in my family on the other side.

I also read "From Beirut to Jerusalem" and appreciated the same style and approach there. In each of these books, I am reminded of my days as a political science major at the University of Michigan, where I elected many courses on the Arab-Israeli conflict, international affairs, and global security. I am now a music professor, but these writings help keep me connected.

As I read, I will make some posts in some of the other subject areas, and I eagerly look forward to much of the other input contained within this forum.

Thanks!

George

George (not verified)
December 27th 2008, 4:18 pm

Discussion, please on a basic dilemma:
Volunteer population control is upside- down: conscientious people, educated, forward-looking, etc. will limit their offspring. Greedy, ignorant, poor, desperate, etc. people will proliferate. How can the human race survive such a natural obstacle?

Rod Packer (not verified)
December 7th 2008, 8:21 pm

As someone who works in the energy sector (I recommended to Andrew Revkin that you perform a lighting retrofit in your Queens location), I recommend that the government either incentivize the utilites, or do it themselves, to green the rooftops of all of the flat open space that's out there. My scenario would entail "leasing" the rooftops from the owner/operators of malls, schools, municipal complexes, warehouses, etc, and install solar and rainwater retention systems. The owner makes a few dollars from the lease, and the utilities can sell the increased capacity on-site, plus the retained water can be used for non-potable uses. With economies of scale, the ROI should be under 10 years.

Also, as someone who works in the healthcare sector, we need to get away from the "pay by the piece" form of payment. All of the insurances, obviously including Medicare/Medicaid, pay for services, almost irregardless of the outcome. Billions are spent annually on labor and resources with little thought spent on "quality of life."

semicolondave (not verified)
December 7th 2008, 4:45 pm

I was very impressed by "Hot, Flat and Crowded" and I am interested in tactics to help spread the important information in the book to as many people as possible. Perhaps the younger generation will help to spread the word via new media. In an effort to get things started, I created a music video: "Hot, Flat and Crowded." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHm-GePYTP0

David E. Corbin (not verified)
November 30th 2008, 10:41 pm

Mr. Friedman,
Thank you for the work you do. I follow your work consistently and respect your voice in the global community greatly.

One IDEA:
- Make Thomas Friedman the Secretary of Energy/Energy Czar

If you don't think you are the person could you recommend 3 others and their top actions.

Another Idea:
- What do you think of giving control of the Big 3 auto companies to Shai Agassi and Better Place?

Keep up the well thought information. It is spreading and it is great to share with others.

Adam (not verified)
November 24th 2008, 4:03 pm

I saw you on Larry King Live on Tuesday evening and I was apalled to hear you espousing the same junk that Al Gore has been trying to impose on this country for the past 20 years. You take part in trying to scare the nation in to thinking that if we don't do something right now we will see New York City under water in our lifetime. Why do so many scientists dispute your rhetoric? There is proof that the climate is cooling, instead of warming, so where do you get your crazy ideas. You sound like a crackpot to me but that is not surprising seeing that you work for the Times.

Anonymous (not verified)
November 18th 2008, 10:09 pm

Everyone who visits this site should familiarize themselves with the innovative strategy that the State of Washington has implemented to reduce greenhouse gases, traffic congestion, gasoline costs, and time delays on highways in urban areas. This solution is supported by local governments, the private sector, and regional transportation districts, and should be a model for all congested urban areas in the United States. Washington is the only state in the U.S. that has reduced the percentage of single occupancy vehicles (SOVs) or solo commuters, while all others have seen increases. How do they do it? By giving tax breaks to companies of 100+ employees for every worker who uses some form of transportation to work other than driving alone. This can include carpooling, vanpooling, telecommuting, flex-time, mass transit, etc. The business community in Washington State has embraced this program because it not only gives them a tangible tax benefit, it results in many other documented side benefits, including: less sick time taken, increased worker productivity, decreased employee turnover, and the cost savings of not having to provide additional parking for growing companies. For companies that ship products, deliveries happen faster. For retail companies, there is more parking available for customers. The benefit to the larger community is decreased commute times, less highway congestion, less pollution, and overall a more efficient utilization of existing roadways, saving millions of dollars for the State, municipalities, and private firms not having to build more highway lanes or parking structures. The key is involving the business community -- that is what changes workers' behavior on a scale large enough to make a difference. Many governmental agencies already use these strategies, but bringing the private sector into the mix is what makes it even more powerful. Each company is free to devise whatever commute-trip reduction strategy works best for them, and to reward or recognize employees who participate in the program in whatever way they choose. Chevron, the largest employer in California, has devoted an entire website to the concept of conservation, which it states "is the easiest, cheapest, and most reliable form of 'new' energy." Our roadways are a precious resource, and must be shared in the same way that airspace is shared in restaurants. If we had never enacted laws to restrict smoking or to encourage recycling, the logical result would have been more deaths from secondhand smoke and the need to simply build more garbage dumps. It is time for corporate America to do its part in reducing commute-hour congestion for the greater good. Even if every car and truck on the road today were a hybrid, it wouldn't fix the congestion that is impacting our nation's productivity and global competitiveness. Individuals interested in reading of Washington's successes can find summary report for 2005 and 2007 at the following websites: 1. CTR Task Force 2005 Report to the Washington State Legislation, at http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/NR/rdonlyres/172087A9...
and 2. 2007 CTR Board Interim Report, at
http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/TDM/CTRInterimReport07

Liz Levy (not verified)
November 13th 2008, 10:29 pm

Right, there are loads of great ideas here, but the SIMPLEST thing anybody can do to reduce their energy and carbon footprint is to ride a bicycle and get rid of their car. (Not alone, do all this other good stuff, too, just get rid of your car.)

If you live a long way out of town, then get a folding bike to ride to the train (or bus.) If you're fitter than average (which you will be fairly quickly, without much sweat, either), then get a bicycle trailer to fetch the groceries. Buying hardware and stuff to make your home energy efficient, pay a bit for their delivery service. (WAY cheaper than running a car to pick up this stuff!)

To bicycle a given distance uses one fifth of the energy required to walk it, yet cycling that distance will take you to you to the edge of your aerobic zone. Your energy consumption will while cycling will rise 10% over your sedentary energy burn - in short it makes YOU more energy efficient, too.

A 25lb steel-framed (well, chromoly) bicycle uses one 80th of the planet's resources compared to a car and 80% of the world's car journeys are single occupant. Don't get tricked by electric assisted bicycles, these have only enough output to overcome the weight of the bike itself, and don't really assist you. They're a way more polluting technology, and with a pure bicycle you don't have to feel guilty about that cookie before dinner :-)

The only true greens on this planet are reducing their car use, and cycling instead, before they do anything else. One last advantage - a bicycle is EASY to fix if it breaks down, a car leaves you stranded on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck.

Steve Jay (not verified)
November 10th 2008, 10:01 pm

I drafted this piece and plan to circulate it to several newspapers. Soon we will know who are lawmakers will be. Now it is time to get the nation involved in the discussion of what they should do. I would appreciate any feedback on this point of view.

Wednesday Morning November 5, 2008 – The Most Important Day in a Century
Dan Belenky
dbelenky@yahoo.com

The next 80 days are the most important days we have seen in two or more generations and probably the most important we are likely to see in our lifetimes. Before our elected representatives sit down to their jobs, let’s tell them what we really want.
We, the people, have an obligation to our grandchildren, our children, our neighbors and ourselves to decide the type of world we want and what we see as the important first steps. We must decide as a nation what are our top priorities? We, the people, must set the course, continue the discussion and reach an overwhelming consensus about what we need to accomplish, when and why.
When you look at the campaign, the platforms and the positions, they are all focused on incremental steps to solve today’s problems. They might be good enough to win an election but it doesn’t make a national vision and it doesn’t begin to address the real issues that we face today. The important issues are the ones that will affect the lives of our descendents for many years to come. Before I list my top 10 priorities let’s consider the most important issues facing our nation and the world today.

Biodiversity and Global Warming
World population, which was under 3 billion when I was born in 1954 is currently almost 7 billion and is expected to grow to around 9 billion by 2050. If the projections prove correct, this should be the maximum population in the foreseeable future. We just can’t carry on business as usual. If the world continues to rely on technologies that add CO2 to the air and require thousands of square miles of land to be cleared every year, the world of 2100 will be so much less livable in so many ways. In my opinion, we have no choice, we must begin to turn this ship now using full rudder to steer in the right direction and all engines engaged to reverse direction.

Control of Corporations
I love corporations, and capitalism, they are a fantastic way to organize and direct productive resources. But corporations are not people. Corporations are legal entities created by our lawmakers to enable groups of people to accomplish goals. The nation is a nation of people. We, the people, must re-assert our collective authority over the corporations. When corporations can buy lawmakers, squander trillions on the mortgage mess, and act with impunity, it is time to revisit systems of controls to assure the corporations act in the best interests of the nation and not the other way around.

Education
You’ve heard the story again and again how our schools are stuck in a 19th century agrarian model. I’ve put education above the social safety net because educated citizens are our only true social safety net. We need a revolution in elementary education and massive improvement in secondary education.

A Social Safety Net that Works
We need to re-invent our social safety net. The great leap we made in the ‘30’s and ‘40’s took us far, but it doesn’t cut it in today’s world. We need to improve all aspects, from healthcare to health insurance to retirement security, to care of the young and disabled. Our healthcare technology is the best in the world, our healthcare delivery one of the most inequitable. In my opinion employers have no business being involved in health insurance. If you lose your job, or can’t get a job, or for a hundred other reasons aren’t on the employment roles, does that make you a second class citizen. Healthcare is too important to be an employee benefit. And having to switch providers because your new employer’s plan doesn’t have the same PPO is sheer lunacy. At least with retirement security we have a model. Social Security provides a base; it should be improved and expanded.

Here are my top 10 priorities. Every one of these is urgent and should be addressed as a critical issue of national security, akin to Pearl Harbor, 9/11, Katrina and the credit meltdown.

1. Nuclear Power,
It is unequivocal that the massive and growing population of the world is upwardly mobile. They want a much improved, if not an “American” lifestyle. Electricity is the wonder of the 20th century. It makes modern life possible and will continue to make the lives of the world’s people better now and in the future. We will need to multiply the worldwide supply of electricity by a factor of 10, or more, while eliminating all CO2 emissions. Wind and Solar will improve, and deserve massive support, but let’s not leave out the best current technology.
Nuclear power research has come a long way since Three Mile Island, and there is still a long way to go. Go to the Department of Energy website and read up on the Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative. We can build a closed fuel cycle that will recycle the spent fuel from plants creating huge new sources of fuel, reduce proliferation risk, minimize the volume and toxicity of high level nuclear waste and reduce bio-segregation requirements from multiple thousands of years to a few hundred years. Instead of filling 10 Yucca mountains, that one repository will be able to can handle all the worldwide high-level waste for several generations. There is much work to be done, and many demonstration facilities to be built. We should start building them now!

2. Wind, Solar and Other Renewable Energy have far to go. These technologies are just becoming commercial. With enough incentives they can be more productive, less expensive and provide services in the many parts of the world that are not served by the electric grid.

3. Build the next generation electric distribution and load management systems.
Electricity markets don’t exist from a demand point of view. We each get all we want no matter what the cost. If we want to have lower demand, build fewer power plants, use electricity more efficiently and expand the benefits of modernity to all the world’s people we should support and encourage this R & D. Thanks to Thomas Friedman’s excellent “Hot, Flat and Crowded”.

4. Tax CO2 emissions and double-tax imports of carbon-based fuels.
Set the incentives in line with our goals. You can’t eliminate al-Qaeda when you underwrite them with $150 billion petrodollars a year. Significant taxes on oil imports were unpopular in the 80’s and 90’s and would have been difficult after 9/11. But, today when gas prices are back down around $2.50 a gallon, after two seasons at over $4.00 would you pay $1.00 a gallon to help assure that prices don’t spike that way again and to improve the world for your grandchildren?

5. Properly fund education. We have to think and invent and design the world of the next generation. Let’s invest in our most important resource. From teachers, to infrastructure, to R&D we’ve wasted a generation. Let’s not waste another.

6. Regulation of corporations is essential. This includes lobbying reform, regulatory reform and giving shareholders real power. Let’s not have another mortgage mess in our lifetimes. Let’s get big oil out of the Senate and back where they belong, as servants of society, not the other way around.

7. Military reform is vital. We need to resolve our military engagements, and rebuild our reputation as the preservers of peace, dignity and the leader of world in the struggle for democracy and human rights, and not the world’s biggest petro-bully. Control of arms proliferation is a hot button issue. You don’t think al-Qaeda manufactures all those advanced weapons in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan do you?

8. Health insurance reform is high on everyone’s list.

9. Reform of representative government. Lobbying reform and election finance reform are two huge issues. It’s great the Barcak Obama won, but money should not be buying a seat in our “representative” government. Is our country for sale to the highest bidder or the best ideas?

10. Strengthen and improve Social Security.

These are my top 10. In the next 30 days, let’s each ask, what are mine? Start the discussion and vote. Vote with your letters, vote with your blogs, vote online, make your opinion known let’s build a solid national consensus on what we need to do any why!

Don’t just grab your coffee and prepare to forget about politics for two more years. There is work to be done. United we defeated the Nazi’s, and controlled Communism, United we have built this wonderful nation. United we have attacked racism and social inequality. We each have our top 10. Let’s pull together and work together to form a UNITED vision for the goals of our generation.

Dan Belenky (not verified)
November 2nd 2008, 5:20 pm

Tom,

Looks to be compelling. Of course, there are tons of maintenance level actions to take, that incrementally will make just as much benefit as the big issues. You and this group, are invited to our site.

http://www.mygreenfootprints.net

Hope to see you all there soon.

MyDriveisGreen (not verified)
October 24th 2008, 6:11 am

This morning, I got up at 5 AM (Sunday) so I could drive my son to cross country practice (at school 25 miles from where we live.) I usually work out on my treadmill and watch MSNBC or CNN while on the treadmill. But nothing of interest was on so on a whim I turned to see what was on FOX NEWS. Unfortunately, it was a Greta Van Susteren hosted program meant to inspire fear and hatred about Obama because of his "dangerous" ideas and associations. We were meant to be very afraid because Obama had served on a board together with Ayres who was promoting pride among African American kids. The program went on with such scare tactics and about 5 minutes of this dribble was about all I could take. So I turned it off and put on my Ipod with a copy of Hot Flat and Crowded which I had just purchased and started listening. The points you were making were set in sharp relief against the fear mongering of the FOX NEWS program. You pointed out how the 2 trends that were discouraging were set off by the encouraging possible third trend. And I was thinking, would it have made any difference had Tom Friedman been asked to serve as a consultant to George W. Bush and had been asked to share his views on the trends he was seeing since 9/11? Sadly, I concluded that sharing those views with George W. Bush would not have impacted him the way it is impacting me listening to them and probably is impacting most of your readers and listeners. And I started to try to understand why that might be and whether anything could be done to make people like Bush or Sarah Palin see the consequences of the direction in which they want to take the country. If you have any thoughts about how you can get your ideas to impact the nearly 50% of the country who has the Bush-Palin perspective, I'd love to read about them in a future column of yours.

Yakov M Epstein (not verified)
October 19th 2008, 6:28 am

As a participant in the energy sector, I applaud your perspectives, proposals and call for action.

However the other side of the energy equation eventually must be part of the conversation. While technology and its intelligent application can dramatically extend energy (and water and food) production, the "crowded" parameter of the equation also requires serious thought. With the current 60 year world population doubling rate, increasingly technology alone will not be able keep up as more of the earth's resources are stressed. At some point population levels will be limited, either by managed or unmanaged means. Unfortunately unmanaged limits would be quite messy with a high risk of a catastrophic collapse of populations and infrastructure. Intelligent management could be more fair and humane for all.

Clearly population management of any sort is quite controversial. But even incremental progress would be very beneficial. We need thoughtful and balanced discussion on appropriate terminology, value proposition and goals, deal with objections from multiple sources, and discuss potential policies and programs. Let's start the conversation now.

Myron (not verified)
October 6th 2008, 10:12 am

Mr. Friedman,
I posted on the Chapter 18 discussion board about the importance of starting all of this with education. In high schools you can find the most idealistic people to send out into the world so they need to have a good grasp of what is going on. I don't know if you are familiar with the course AP Human Geography but so many things you write fits right in with its units of study. Look into it and if you need to know more just ask, I have taught it for 6 years.

Jerry (not verified)
October 5th 2008, 5:30 pm

In reading some of the ideas or comments in this string, it is apparent that the fundamental requirement for any progress is missing. That is, bi-partisanship.

For anyone who truly believes climate change is the province of one party or that one party is dismissive of the problem, please visit www.rep.org. We are a grasssroots organization that works to make environmental issues truly bi-partisan. We must get the "whole" country pointed in the right direction to create a policy environment that helps new technologies flourish and hastens the solution to the problem.

Realy enjoyed the book and some of the interviews I've seen. Thanks.

Rob Sisson (not verified)
October 1st 2008, 9:04 am

Peace. What is peace? Some people still don’t understand the meaning of peace. To some peace is going on strike in the name of peace. To some peace is going to war in the name of peace. To some peace is God; Yet there prevails holy wars to pacify the “wrath of God.” But none of this has any meaning.
For, peace is the calm, quiet, and tilled earth. Greenery upon this earth is what’s peace. Feed the earth with plants, green open fields, and healthy green forests. That’s peace. Everything peaceful revolves around the green we grow on our earth. That’s peace. More greenery is more positive life. That’s peace.
Nature grows with every leaf. So does peace. Let’s help rebuild this world without darkness and hatred. Let’s rebuild this world with everything green and redevelop our environment. That’s peace. Nothing more. Nothing less.

I am an Indian child studying in the United Arab Emirates.

Aditya Rakesh Kombra
Grade 9,
Delhi Private School,
Sharjah, UAE

Aditya Rakesh ... (not verified)
September 30th 2008, 5:27 am

The Discovery Channel has a new mini-series called "Project Earth" that profiles some radical experiments aimed at making a technological breakthrough to solve the climate crisis. More info at http://dsc.discovery.com/tv/project-earth/pro...
My kids love it and the episode I watched was fascinating.

Rick M (not verified)
September 23rd 2008, 11:26 am

Mr. Friedman,
I notice on page 188 that the Hydrogen fuel cell has been dismissed as part of the answer. Both BMW and Toyota or Honda as auto mobiles power bby hydrogen. Water in water out. Norway, of all places, has built a highway from Oslo that goes around the pensula with hydrogen stations along the way. The station look just like gas station. The ' pumps are the same size as the gas pumps we see every day. The difference is they take in water, any water, clean it, seperate the hydrogen from the oxygen and fill up the cars they have modified. The frames actually are modified to hold the hydrogen. Each wheel has it's own electric motor. I was very impressed. I do agree that this has to be a systemic change, but it seems to me this could be part of it. T.Boone Pickens has some good ideas as well.

Thanks for the last two books. You've scared the hell out of me. Hopefully you've done the same for everyone else.

Best Regards J.Blackburn
www.theradiogypsies.com please take a look.

J Blackburn (not verified)
September 23rd 2008, 8:36 am

While the necessity of clean, cheap, abundant electrons seems undeniable, the argument distracts us from the reality that the world's human population already exceeds the limits of plausible ecological balance. Being green is ultimately a cultural issue that rests more on values than technique. Maybe we need to look at how the world can become round again -- that is to say, understanding that we live in a closed system where all actions have consequences.

Frank (not verified)
September 22nd 2008, 10:32 am

In reading your book, I couldn't help but make comparisons between the ongoing subprime mortgage crisis and the fall of Russia. Are there more correlations to be made than just dependence on natural resources that result in potential instability? It seems to me that a greater lesson to be learned is that something (for relatively) nothing - whether it be natural resources or some other source of low-input income - is the ultimate cause of economic and social instability.

Anonymous (not verified)
September 22nd 2008, 12:03 am

We can not continue the inefficient use of energy that is purchased from sources that are unfriendly. I totally agree. It is a pending disaster with potentially catastrophic consequences. Your plea for energy conservation and pursuit of alternative sources of energy is right on.

However, I am most discouraged by the quantitative misinformation in the comments above. My take: conservation has short term potential; solar, wind, and geothermal can only be a tiny fraction of the solution; fossil-fuel is toxic; nuclear power is the only real long-term answer (unfortunately).

I spent 40 years developing, designing and operating power plants - using nuclear, burning every fossil fuel available, and pursuing renewables as well. I can do all the calculations and know the realities of siting any type of power generation facility. I haven't worked in nuclear in 22 years but it is the only practical solution - the only technology which produces the vast amounts of energy this hot, flat, and crowded planet requires; and the only technology with problems, which although severe, are eventually solvable.

There hasn't been a day since the first oil crisis that I haven't worried about this coming catastrophe.I haven't read your book yet, but I definitely will - I read every book on this subject with all points of view.

Jack Ludwig (not verified)
September 18th 2008, 7:31 pm

In order for the general public to respect the incredible transition our planet is undergoing, there has to be a way for them to first understand the situation.

The more examples we create to communicate the seriousness of this problem, the better, as not all people learn in the same ways or bond to the same material.

If we can uncover the most appropriate methods to approach separate demographics or even subcultures to market the idea to, the more they are likely to relate, retain, and respond. This message must penetrate the public ear using whatever methods available.

Anonymous (not verified)
September 18th 2008, 6:21 pm

Our energy system is grossly inefficient, and the reason is simple: bad regulations. We should be like Denmark and reward efficient, local power technologies such as cogeneration and waste heat recovery. Instead, we give monopoly protections to inefficient utilities, making it exceedingly difficult for more efficient options to emerge. If we subject utilities to fair competition, greenhouse pollution and energy costs would simultaneously plummet.

Consider three facts:

1) About 69% of our nation's greenhouse pollution comes from the production of power and heat.

2) A typical U.S. power plant is only 33% efficient, meaning it throws away two-thirds of its fuel. This pathetic figure hasn't improved since the 1950s.

3) Technology is available right now to make power plants that are 70-90% efficient. Such plants -- which "recycle" their own waste heat into clean power and steam -- provide over half of Denmark's energy.

Together, these facts mean we can strike at the heart of global warming only if we generate power more efficiently. Better gas mileage is nice, and so is insultation in buildings. But as visionaries like Tom Casten and others have argued, our energy system is the core of the problem. And until we reform the rules that reward inefficient utilities, little will change.

Miggs (not verified)
September 16th 2008, 2:05 pm

I heard your interview on NPR, several of your comments seemed to indicate you had no idea why the US energy policy makes no sense. For example
drill, drill - what am I missing here
drill, drill - what planet are they on?
it's crazy, the Ohio senator actually voted against it (tax credits)
You may find my OPEDNEWS.COM piece helpful.
It was number one in the column for 14 hours (3 is average).
Here is the link

http://www.opednews.com/articles/-Give-Us-the...

Actually I have another Oped piece that included Denmark with the following observation

Frankly, when you compare how America has responded to the 1973 oil shock and how Denmark has responded, we look pathetic.
Because it was smart taxes and incentives that spurred Danish energy companies to innovate, Ditlev Engel, the president of Vestas — Denmark’s and the world’s biggest wind turbine company — told me that he simply can’t understand how the U.S. Congress could have just failed to extend the production tax credits for wind development in America.

and of course and explanation that is included in the current article
"Give Us the ANWAR and Keep Shopping"-They Found They Can't Have Both"

Robert Singer (not verified)
September 16th 2008, 10:46 am

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