Chapter 18 RSS feedThe Chapter 18 Project

The Great Disruption

This column got a lot of feedback from New York Times readers. I am thinking of calling Chapter 18 "The Great Disruption." I am coming to the conclusion that the market and Mother Nature both hit the wall here in 2008/2009. We need growth, we need ways to raise people's standards of living, but what will be the new ways we should focus on—post-The Great Disruption—that will allow us to grow people's living standards in a more sustainable and regenerative way?

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.

Without a Price Signal...

While Washington was bailing out Detroit, President-elect Obama made two crucial appointments: he named Steve Chu as his secretary of Energy and Carol Browner as an energy coordinator or "czarina." It seems to me that the two posts neatly frame the two aspects of the effort to create a Clean Energy System—what we might call the clean energy predicament.

Where's the Price Signal?

It is now more clear than ever that Barack Obama is not going to be able to impose a gasoline tax, set a carbon tax, or establish a cap-and-trade plan for carbon emissions in his first year in the White House. How can we have a green revolution without a price signal—a sign to investors that the market for clean energy solutions is huge and a sure thing? I am interested in any ideas you have—and I am sure Obama will be too!

What to Do About the Big Three?

We have a new president-elect, and he (with his predecessor) is facing an old problem: what to do about the Big Three automakers? These companies haven't been innovative or competitive in the marketplace in a generation or more. Now General Motors is looking to the federal government to offer a big aid package to keep the company in business and keep its many thousands of employees working. There is little doubt Ford and Chrysler will follow suit.

The End of Green?

With the economy in turmoil, many people have asked me what effect the turmoil will have on all the green initiatives I call for in Hot, Flat, and Crowded. This morning I was talking to my friend David Rothkopf, the energy expert at the Carnegie Endowment, and he put it this way: “Is this financial crisis going to be the end of green, or is green going to be how we end this financial crisis?” Really, that is the question of the hour.

Subprime Nation

Hot, Flat, and Crowded is about two problems: the world’s problem, and America’s problem. The world’s problem is that it is getting hot, flat, and crowded. But what’s on my mind especially today is America’s problem. America has lost its way in recent years – partly because of 9/11 and partly because of the bad habits that we have let build up over the past thirty years, bad habits that have weakened our society’s ability and willingness to take on the big challenges.

Making Clean Energy Work

Thanks to all for the comments. As I am finding from the people I meet on the road during events in connection with the book, there is a real groundswell of enthusiasm and commitment to bringing about a change from the Dirty Fuels System to a Clean Energy System. But as your comments indicate, we all know that many, many obstacles stand in the way.

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

Introduction to Chapter 18

Hot, Flat, and Crowded has seventeen chapters. What's Chapter 18? Chapter 18 will be a completely new chapter that I’ll add to the next edition of the book: Version 2.0. In it I hope to include the best ideas and proposals sent in from readers: ideas about clean energy, energy efficiency, and conservation; about petropolitics and nation-building in America; about how we can help take the lead in the renewal of our country and the Earth alike by going Code Green. I am eager for your suggestions — please post them here.