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.


Imagine the day when a NASA launch announcer says:

"Ladies and gentlemen.... we have lift-off of the first Space Shuttle to launch from a 100% renewable energy powered Kennedy Space Center. Every system and ground vehicle is powered by clean, renewable energy. The Shuttle's main engines are burning liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen produced from ocean water and the entire Space Center is powered by a huge 3-mile wide solar and ocean thermal energy conversion power plant. This is absolutely amazing!"

The SOLAR SPACE PORT INITIATIVE would redesign and rebuild the Space Shuttle Launch Facility at the Kennedy Space Center to use only renewable energy sources and ocean water. It could even be the leading project described by Al Gore as a “Moon Shot Project” to solve global climate change.

The objective is to build a solar energy collection facility that would convert sunlight into electricity to electrolyze, liquefy and store adequate amounts of hydrogen and oxygen from ocean water for the indefinite operation of a space vehicle launch site.

A key feature of this project is the implementation of a massive technology transfer program that would "spin-off" advances to key industries, transforming the nation's energy infrastructure.

“NASA related commercialization has contributed to the development of commercial products and services in the fields of health and medicine, industry, consumer goods, transportation, public safety, computer technology, and environmental resources.
- Miniaturized Computers and Electronics
- Panoramic Photography
- Implantable Medical Devices
- Drag-Reducing Swimsuits
- Lithium Batteries

NASA has been issued over 6,300 patents, nearly one in a thousand of all patents ever issued by the U.S. Patent Office (since 1790).”

Every industry in the country would be impacted for decades to come.


Jon Ross (not verified)
December 6th 2008, 10:42 pm

I have an idea for green power generation (large scale)
but I don't have the background in the fields of either
Engineering or Physics to run with it, or even to know if
it is worth pursuing. I've drawn a couple of diagrams;
do you know anyone with a minute to spare and the requisite
background to tell me if it's feasable. I realize that
they may just roll thier eyes and pat my head but sometimes
not knowing what isn't possible is what lends to new ideas.

I've made 3 little jpegs; I'd love to get someones thoughts.

Thanks, Jim.

Jim Branchaud (not verified)
December 4th 2008, 2:56 pm

As a global person who grew up in at least 4 countries before the age of 12, İ was well adapted to the flattening of the earth.
There is now a situation globally where the world can make positive fundamental changes and the incoming President of the United States claims to embrace those changes. Here are a few ideas:
Take the money from the auto industry baılouts and make then contingent on implementing fuel cell technology ınto cars with no excuses or delays.

Do not bail out the banks who brought on the crisis. İnstead indict and prosecute the heads of those banks for criminal negligence or compliance to defraud customers. Let those banks go down and use the bailout money to micro finance new businesses with the proviso that they should be adapted to the new globalized business environment.

Just two for now
Your book was thought provoking. İ teach at universities overseas and İ can tell you that most students are not switched on to the new realities.

By the way Thomas, İ used to try to teach students from the PRC in Toronto and İ can tell you that once their parents make money, PRC students are as indolent as any students in the US. Some are hungry but they won't stay that way. İ am predicting the China is a bubble that will burst once they get fat enough and once a new country or countries replicates their formula.
No country that believes that the rote system is the basis of an education system can dominate a century and no country that views censorship and inhibits creativity can lead the world.

John Scanlon (not verified)
December 4th 2008, 3:40 am


Instead of completely relying on our government to get us out of this environmental mess, why not operate a website in which individuals can invest by loan in green technology companies of their choice.

This idea comes from which is dedicated to finding loans for struggling businesses and individuals worldwide. Background information about applicant, amount of loan requested, and details of the project are listed. Loan applications have a deadline, monies are withheld until the amount requested is reached, and returned to the originators if the projects don't fully fund on time.

There are thousands of small environmental research & development companies here in the US in need of such loans, and I believe, thousands of individuals who would love to take part in reshaping this planet.

Anonymous (not verified)
December 1st 2008, 5:21 pm

Mr. Friedman,

There is a company named CPL Systems. They are involved in capturing waste products from manufacturing plants, stockyards, landfills, etc. They then design and manufacture the necessary components to convert these waste produts into useable fuel to partially power the plant.

I think you might find this company as well as this industry, to be something you might want to explore in Chapter 18.

John Chip Carter (not verified)
December 1st 2008, 4:15 pm

I am almost finished with "The World is Flat," and it has been galvanizing, to say the least.

I am a former engineer who is substitute-teaching at the high school level (until I can get a permanent position).

I am amazed at the complacency of many of my students, as well as what I consider to be fairly low standards. (Hey, at least we HAVE standards now - I guess that's an improvement over when I was in high school).

If we are to compete successfully in the new Flat World, I think we need to really start with our kids. If we give them the right skills and attitudes, the rest should take care of itself (political will, innovations in technology, personal economy, etc).

My question is how do we do it? I'd love to see more in your book toward answering that question. Who are the teachers who are creating passion and ambition in their kids? How do they do it? I want to be one of those, and I'm looking for role models...

Also, I was struck by the fact that, in China, the kids that make it to the international finals of the Intel International Science Fair are given a free ride at the university of their choice (in China).

Here in America, the only way you get a free ride from the government is if you enter the military (through ROTC scholarships). Maybe we should follow China's example and offer free college educations to students who major in the Science and Engineering disciplines? Like ROTC, there could be a required commitment to an issue of national importance, say 5-6 years working in alternative-energy research (just for example).

If kids were guaranteed a free college education, don't you think we'd see the number of S&E graduates rise? I bet you would....

Just a thought.

PS If you DO have any material suitable for high school/middle school assemblies/presentations, I'd love to see it. If not, I may just develop some lesson plans for my own use! I often have "down time" when the kids have completed the work left by the permanent teacher. Well, I'm going to use that time to start talking about your book with them :-)

Jennifer Molnar (not verified)
December 1st 2008, 12:00 pm

Mr. Friedman,

I'm about halfway through your book and am hooked! You make a compelling case for environmental change on many levels of life and government and I hope that critics and dissenters pick up your book and study it.

That said, one edit for your next edition, if you haven't already noticed this -- on page 177, you make reference to the "National Environmental Protection Act" as the legislation that created the environmental impact statement. Rather, it was the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). I believe from my environmental law courses in law school that I am correct about this, though it has been some years. It's not a substantive matter in your book, but the word makes a difference as NEPA does not provide any protections as it does not require any action after the EIS has been performed. It would have been nice if the Nixon Administration did indeed pass a National "Protection" Act instead of a "Policy" Act, but that was not the case for this particular legislation.

Substantively, your book is thought provoking and inspiring and is causing me to consider looking for employment again in the area of my educational expertise. Should I have suggestions for Chapter 18 after finishing the book, I'll post again.

Kind Regards,

Jonathan (not verified)
November 30th 2008, 10:48 am

While there are many INTERESTING comments, few are actual proposals. As a tropical farmer with my own limited budget experimental farm and a free-lance technical consultant for airship design, I have these suggestions.

1) Nearly all major crops have been under cultivation for a few thousand years, nothing new. There are large amounts of tropical (mostly rain forest) crops that have NEVER been improved and yet may supply sources of food and energy as yet unknown. We need dozens of Luther Burbanks (look him up) for the tropics,and VERY IMPORTANT, we need to be and CAN be connected online (flat world). Only two promising examples are thornless pejibaye palms which perennially produce as much food per acre as corn, and manicillo (tropical peanut ground cover) which is great chicken feed and also should be great for methane generation, while controlling soil erosion. There are many more, all ignored by the "payday´s on Friday" government agriculture departments.

2) With such and other crops, the tropics (poor and underdeveloped, especially Africa) can provide food and fuel and be less dependent on imports of these, with their associated environmental costs. Tree crops and permanent ground covers can replace bare soil and imported fertilizers.

3) There is substantial evidence about the "terra preta" system used by Brazilian indians centuries ago to maintain soil fertility. This needs to be adapted on a massive scale to improve agriculture AND sequester carbon with useful purpose. And YES I will be doing it on my 7 acre farm, several tons per year!

4) These same areas can become net exporters of methane gas (which wastes no nutrients, and captures gases normally released into the atmosphere) via airships which can carry huge amounts of unpressurized gas economically. I did such a study to transport natural gas in Bolivia, have the numbers, and they make sense. At the same time, large (say 50 to 100 tons) cargo or passenger airships can carry cargo or people for about 1/4th the fuel per ton-mile of jets. Airships are NOT high tech, but medium tech, comparable to the 1940´s airplanes which I worked on, and can be built in developing countries.

5) One area with HUGE wind power potential is the Tierra del Fuego of South America. Likely tidal power is also great in some areas there too. Using the above airships, hydrogen can be delivered from remote wind sites to urban areas or pipelines.

hope these are helpful,


Jesse Blenn (not verified)
November 27th 2008, 5:51 pm

Mr. Friedman,

First of all, I'd like to send my appreciation for everything I have learned from your books. I was first exposed to "The World is Flat" when I was in college. That book guided and made me realize how we're all interconnected and how we all work as one. Having been born and raised in the Philippines, I have seen a clearer road in understanding the world by reading that book. It had also made me realize some truths on how your points apply to my personal and the people in my life.

Living in the United States for 10 years now, I have been exposed to the smarts and power that this country have. With that note, I think that a good point to address in your next chapter is how US' actions and responsibilities have been affecting third-world countries in the international sustainable development arena. Address the work of US organizations and companies in third-world countries and how it will change with the new ideas and technologies you were speaking of in "Hot, Flat and Crowded". I have read you pinpoint some, but I think it will be good to expose how the US had lifted or brought down developing countries for your readers to realize what this country have done. I have done my fair share of traveling and have been exposed to different worlds. In our world today, you can't just think of the US alone. Whatever decisions or changes it makes, it doesn't just affects itself. Most importantly, it brings a major impact to developing countries all over the world. With the technologies and ideas you brought up in "Hot, Flat, and Crowded", how and what kind of influence will the US bring to poor countries and how will it change foreign and internal assistance?

I see it as this, and one of the reason why I was driven to write you is when I read the part of the child speaking to the audience at the last parts of Hot, Flat, and Crowded... If say, the poor countries were the child, what would or should the US do? and we can't say or deny that the US can't put itself in the position of the CEOs and Presidents, because it sure act like it is. Two words, accountability and responsibility.


Elmer (not verified)
November 25th 2008, 12:04 pm

Dear Mr. Friedman and readers,

As a public health nurse, it seems that application of basic public health concepts would help the current state of our country and world. Public health uses population based approaches for the general good, while protecting individual rights and welfare.

Some simplistic notions for environmental health have yet to be implemented. For example, I live in a large midwestern city that does not use recycling. And the state government, which is one of the largest employers in the state, does not use recycling in its agencies.

My dear departed mom always spoke of the rationing and recycling programs used during World War II. She could never easily discard a tin can. Why can we not universally apply some of the simple, basic ideas of conservation of which recycling is just one idea? It seems there are some easy places to begin, we just have to do it!

Sue Misner (not verified)
November 24th 2008, 1:53 pm

Our Automobile Industry? Just Buy them Out

There are critics that suggest that the industry and its leaders are themselves to blame for lack of innovation, for foot dragging on fuel economy standards, for blatant disregard of global warming issues. These critics are reluctant to entrust any bail out money to the same management teams responsible for the current state of affairs.

A number that I hear suggested as an appropriate amount to tide the industry over until the economy improves is $50 billion.

Now at today's stock prices the whole of General Motors And the Ford Motor Company can be bought for $6 billion.

If some enabling legislation were passed the government could buy out General Motors and Ford Motor Company. They could then change management, change out the Board of Directors and change out the product mix of these companies to a mix of electric, hybrid electric, hybrid and high mileage gasoline or perhaps natural gas powered cars. In addition lithium-ion battery manufacturing could be added

The same enabling legislation could require that the government divest itself of all shares of these companies in five years. It is almost certain that the government would make sufficient profit on these transactions to pay for whatever stimulus packages had to be implemented.

The aerobus consortium in Europe is in part a GSE. We allow it to bid on United States military projects at the expense of our own defense industry and their citizen employees. So in a sense we support the concept of government owned industry.

The Bonneville Power Administration is a government owned industry peddling hydropower to the northwest. Also note the BPA was the result and product of a severely depressed economy.

This is not the time for ideologues and and the purity of our precious (bodily fluids?) capitalist system.

Robert Hodgson

Robert Hodgson (not verified)
November 23rd 2008, 6:53 pm

Dear Mr. Friedman,

We would like to introduce you to GreenMicrofinance™, an organization formed in 2002 that harnesses the power of renewable energy to the engine of microfinance.

Our work with microfinance institutions (MFI’s) assists them in providing their clients, the Bottom of the Pyramid, with clean, renewable, localized energy technologies - solar, wind, hydro, biogas, biomass and biofuel - which enhance their physical and economic well-being while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and deforestation.

GreenMicrofinance & USAID microLINKS co-hosted an on-line Forum November 18-20, 2008 on "Microfinance and Climate Change". 193 participants from 43 countries participated in this discussion, together contributing 95 messages on issues related to climate change, global warming, clean energy, energy efficiency, financing clean technologies for the poor, and conservation. We invite you to review this dialogue, which will continue on GreenMicrofinance website. (

The following will provide you an overview of GreenMicrofinance.

* GreenMicrofinance, LLC (for profit)
GreenMicrofinance LLC was formed in 2002. Green-Microfinance microfinance specialists and environmental engineers design, market, and finance green micro-financial products including bio-gas, bio-fuel, solar, wind, and micro-hydro. At the center of our vanguard clean energy investment program is our capacity building services we provide to microfinance institutions. Through environmental assessment and training, the microfinance institutions develop capacity to implement clean energy programs. The GMf Green Loan Fund™ will provide much needed capital to finance clean energy technologies, especially with the ever increasing demand globally for such products, linking to socially responsible investors.

* GreenMicrofinance Center (non-profit)
GreenMicrofinance Center was formed in 2008 to promote environmental justice for the world’s poor by providing education and resources on clean energy for the Bottom of the Pyramid, sharing knowledge on renewable, affordable, green, local energy sources for sustainable development. Not only are these strategies beneficial for MFI clients, they also provide reductions in greenhouse gases, providing a powerful tool to address global warming.

GreenMicrofinance Center’s mission is to address climate change and environmental justice by providing education and sharing knowledge on clean energy for the world’s poor. Through various services including blogs, webinars, university on-line forums, educational films, conferences and training, GMfC assists MFIs in the transition to an affordable and healthy energy future for their clients.

For the past six years we have been addressing the challenging issues of our world today that you so well write on in "Hot, Flat, and Crowded". With 2 billion people lacking access to clean energy, we join you in not only seeking ways to solve these problems, but thrive together, on a greener, more just earth.

Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel (not verified)
November 21st 2008, 4:44 pm

As an example of your conviction that Americans should lead in innovation so that we will possess technologies and expertise we can sell to the rest of the world, I offer an example from this week's business news:

SHENYANG, China--(BUSINESS WIRE)--American Superconductor Corporation (NASDAQ: AMSC - News), a leading energy technologies company, and Shenyang Blower Works (Group) Co., Ltd. (SBW), a leading Chinese industrial equipment manufacturer, signed an agreement today for co-development work that positions SBW to become a leading supplier of wind turbines for the Chinese marketplace. The contract was signed today in a ceremony involving the chief executive officers of the two companies at SBW headquarters in Shenyang, China.

Under the terms of the agreement, AMSC’s wholly owned AMSC WindtecTM subsidiary will provide SBW with designs for its 2 megawatt (MW) doubly fed induction wind turbine. AMSC will also help SBW localize the supply of all core components for the wind turbines, establish its wind turbine manufacturing line and build and test SBW’s first prototype wind turbines. After receiving certification, SBW will manufacture the turbines and sell them primarily into the Chinese market. AMSC will provide the full electrical systems for all of SBW’s wind turbines.


Richard Paske (not verified)
November 21st 2008, 11:21 am

Dear Mr. Friedman:
Your observations and comments are intriguing and provocative... but they primarily address Flat and Hot. What about Crowded? Neither you nor Al Gore nor any other analyst I've read or politician I've heard addresses the more fundamental problem of overpopulation except in a passing way. There are just too many people on this planet; and the problems inherent in the exponential growth rate you do mention will likely overshadow the impact of even the most innovative energy technologies. Of course, addressing that issue head-on offends the Catholic Church, evangelical Christians and fundamentalist Muslims. We ALREADY HAVE technologies to control overpopulation (education, contraception, and abortion); let's use them. You're a bold and persuasive man, please step up to the plate and give this issue the same kind of analysis you gave to Flat and Hot. As they say, "Mother Nature Always Bats Last." If the human race doesn't control its rampant breeding, She, through disease, famine, and natural disasters will take care of the problem for us. (And I'm not even a baseball fan.)

Wendy Gelbart (not verified)
November 20th 2008, 8:49 pm

Your diagnosis of the situation that you describe as Energy Poverty is most compelling; but short on First best solutions.
I recommend you take a trip on the Jersey Turnpike to visit the headquarters of Blacklight Power to become aware of the new energy source that has been developed, proven and validated there; in the shadow of Einstein's physics. You have traveled the globe identifying the content and context of the economic, environmental and energy problems that confront us; why not take a day trip to Cranberry and talk to Dr. Randy Mills and validate the first best solution to the problems you have framed.
Better chance a sin of commission than the neglect of omission and expedite the introduction of blacklight power into the structure of Code Green. WE need to proceed "with all deliberate haste"; and you have the pulpit and spurs to press on to a solution to the energy poverty conundrum.

Ned Hogan
Sun Valley, Idaho

Ned Hogan (not verified)
November 19th 2008, 2:25 pm

Mr Friedman,

As always, you have written a very valuable book that I hope will help many people understand the state of the world we are in. What concerns me, is that while those who possess a certain intellect (including our incoming President) can understand the inter-relations between the price of oil, the state of our economy, the state of Saudi Arabia's march towards (or away from) freedom, and the strengthening of hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, I am not always confident in my fellow citizens to reach the same conclusions as us.

I am hopeful that we might now have a president who will be able to put these types of things into simple terms that "Joe sixpack" can understand, but how is Joe going to handle a hike in the gas tax that we all know is necessary? Will the ignorant revolt and push us back further if we bring about change in a way that may threaten their pocketbooks a bit?

Getting someone to install a CFL or buy a hybrid is one thing, but getting them to commit money to such an intangible goal is another.

One person who seems to have a particularly good outreach campaign (despite my objections to his plan) is T. Boone Pickens. Despite his self interest in the market for natural gas, he has been able to gather a large amount of public support.

For the readers of your book like myself, who you have converted into true believers, what organization do we have to help us with outreach to the other 300 million?

Michael C (not verified)
November 17th 2008, 12:31 am

Mr Friedman
First of all, I want to thank you for keeping these issues in the forefront of society's collective mind - hopefully we see real action in the US on energy independence very soon.

As for the Big Three, I say let's take any money that would have been put into incentives for these companies, which would be throwing good money after bad, and give the money to the US electric car companies like Tesla to accelerate their development. I would even rather see money be given to Think, which is now a Norwegian company, than to the Big Three, in order to develop their North American division and accelerate their sales in the US.

Also, I just finished reading HF&C and I think that you may have been a bit shortsighted in outlining the vision of the energy future with the energy internet. While it (the energy internet) may become a reality in the near future, I think the real future of energy is in distributed energy generation or point-of-use generation with storage. I imagine a future where each house has a flexible, highly efficient shell that not only captures solar energy, including UV (converts some to electricity and uses some as thermal) but also captures the energy of forces that fall against it (wind, rain, vibrations) as well. Inside the house, even the floors could capture the energy of the footfalls as the occupants pass through. The house would also use a combination of solar, geothermal, and wind energy capturing systems to supplement the energy captured by the shell of the house. Even the motion of people does not go uncaptured - it is captured through clothing to power personal communication devices. Energy is everywhere and the technology to capture it efficiently I hope is near at hand. In this future, households are not beholden to corporations anymore.

Phil D (not verified)
November 15th 2008, 9:50 pm

Vision -- An America where highway vehicles produce zero greenhouse gases and run on fuels that are produced from renewable energy.

This vision is possible to accomplish in less than two decades with a conversion of America's vehicles to operate on (1) electricity and (2) ammonia.

There is considerable research and commercial activity already ongoing with electric vehicles, but the same is not yet true of ammonia.

Sometimes called "the other hydrogen", ammonia (NH3) is totally carbon free and can serve as an ultra-clean, energy-dense alternative liquid fuel. Ammonia is the only practical liquid fuel that produces no greenhouse gases on combustion. Ammonia will power diesel and spark-ignited internal combustion engines, direct ammonia fuel cells, and even combustion turbines. And, ammonia can be manufactured from simply water and air using clean renewable energy. With current technologies, ammonia can be made from wind, solar, hydro, or geothermal energy sources at a price point equal to or less than that of gasoline or diesel. Even "clean coal" technology is currently being used to make green ammonia, and ammonia production could also be efficiently matched with nuclear power facilities.

Currently, ammonia is made in enormous quantities around the world for use as a fertilizer, refrigerant, and numerous other uses, so a delivery infrastructure and protocols already exists. Unfortunately, most of the current world production of ammonia is made using fossil fuels, which then produces CO2 as a waste product. Efficient ammonia production from renewable energy will solve this problem.

Ammonia vehicles, even heavy transportation vehicles, will not be limited in range as will electric vehicles.

Ammonia can also be used for emission-free fueling of the small internal combustion engines to be used in plug-in hybrids, such as the GM Volt, to charge batteries while driving.

Web site --


John Holbrook PhD
Executive Director
Ammonia Fuel Network

John Holbrook (not verified)
November 14th 2008, 3:14 pm

Talk about soccer as a tool of globalization.

Sarah (not verified)
November 14th 2008, 2:57 pm

To Ron Hayden,

If recycling of nuclear waste were a real solution to its disposal, why have Russia, Germany, France and the UK abandoned their recycling efforts as too expensive? It cost more than using new uranium fuel.

Anonymous (not verified)
November 14th 2008, 12:51 pm

Smoke is bad for health. So tax smoke. Gas is bad for the Earth. So tax gas.

Too big to fall? Are you kidding me? So tax the big. They should not form at the 1st place.

Bailout AIG, Bailout WS, Bailout the Big3, ...Where is the end? Who is going to bailout USA?

Actually, we have more important institutions which are falling or already dead, such as NSF, NIH, NASA, ...; who is going to bail them out?

What could the BHO gvt do next? My take: no more bailouts, but we need more funding for innovation. There are tons of stimulating ideas in these above-mentioned falling agencies heading towards trash cans.

Sigh ...

Little Potato (not verified)
November 13th 2008, 2:11 pm

From another citizen of America and the Earth:
Your comments are so right on, and have been relevant ever since Rachael Carson's "Silent Spring" & Paul Erlich's "The Population Bomb" were released. And look how much more we've learned since then!
I would ask you to consider the idea of taking a look at the engineers at NASA, especially with the Shuttle Program in its current condition, to tackle the auto industry re-tooling issue. Why not take your idea of a Steve Jobs type person for as long as needed and add the engineering ingenuity of the people NASA uses to maximize output of energy within severe limitations (although environmental constraints would be somewhat different)? This may be an additional place to look beyond our fellow citizens in their innovative garages. People who have contributed to NASA's successes and incredibly innovative spin-offs are already in a "mission-oriented" state of mind. I would know. I was on a NASA grant in grad school (KU's Space Technology Center, The KS Applied Remote Sensing Program (1979-1982)). The State of Kansas now has a fully grown remote sensing program, something that the NASA grant I worked on was tasked to help create. Our grant was as mission-oriented as the NASA engineers were, only we were tasked, directly under a congressional committee to whom I used to write the progress reports, to transfer NASA's technology to county, state and regional entities that could use remote sensing (and IT) to help them attain their goals. The fact that the State of Kansas has its own remote sensing program is a real dream come true for me.
I'd also like to pass to you my copyrighted (1996) phrase:"Your dollar is your vote". This should be a cliche. It's about time that everyone was consciously (vs. unconsciously) aware of the importance of the power that where your dollar is spent is actually a "vote" that the consumer gives with every purchase. If you would like to know the circumstances around which this thought entered my mind at the age of 16, (I'm 54 now), just email me back.
Understanding that "Time is a precious commodity" (a phrase which I give to you without a copyright), I realize I'll probably never hear back from you.
Thank you for your years of service to all of us on planet Earth!
Elizabeth Kipp

Elizabeth Kipp (not verified)
November 13th 2008, 11:05 am

Dear Mr Friedman,

Please watch "HERE COMES THE SUN" @

Hermann Scheer, a member of German parliament, President of EUROSTAR (the European Association for Renewable Energy) and General Chairman of the World Council for Renewable Energy, together with Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, explain how solar energy will transform our world within a decade from now. Enjoy.

Kind regards

Rene de Groot (not verified)
November 12th 2008, 3:04 pm

President Obama and the leaders of the other G8 countries should make a joint announcement of a challenge which will 1) cover the final costs of R&D, 2) offer a 100 year exclusive patent, and 3) give a monetary reward of $10 billion (or some large amount) to any entrepeneur or corporation that invents something inexpensive and safe to replace fossil fuels. Nobody will abandon the lucrative fossil fuel market and spend time/resources to develop something new without an impressive incentive, and a combination like the one I described would certainly create a large body of research without a Manhattan Project-like government budget or a hike in taxes.

Eric Feinberg (not verified)
November 12th 2008, 2:42 pm

I've watched a couple of your TV appearances about FLAT, HOT, AND CROWDED and think I note a hesitant indication that you recognize the underlying effect of overpopulation.

MY Take: You are now well established enough to risk honesty. Unless the U.S. takes the leadership (along with China which deserves credit not condemnation) to promote aggressive education for 1-2-child families worldwide, all other "greening" efforts will be consumed by the overwhelming numbers of peoples. CONVINCING THIS GENERATION OF WOULD-BE PARENTS TO STOP AT 2 COULD STABILIZE WORLD POPULATION WELL BELOW THE PROJECTED 9 BILLION.

Along with your proposed investments, that is this civilization's ONLY chance to survive our current excesses. Wallace Snyder said it more succinctly but I hope to have inspired your courage to take on this issue which no other leader has done.

harriet mitteldorf (not verified)
November 12th 2008, 1:49 pm

How about American support for the UNFPA.

Dante Ryel (not verified)
November 12th 2008, 12:12 am

Okay, my big idea for Chapter 18 is a happy ending concluding with energy independence for the United States of America. The end of Chapter 18 is the beginning of cheap and clean renewable energy. I wrote a plan to get to there from here. Everything in it is workable and uses technology available today.

My name is Jack Talbert, and I am the CEO of United Renewable Power and Electric, in Manhattan, Kansas.

Whilst I watched the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Mr. Friedman appeared as a guest. He summarized the same problem we all know, no one is making a contribution to a clean alternative energy as it is not cost effective as compared to current dirty sources. Jon Stewart presesnted the question to Mr. Friedman, "Why aren't there people in thier garages working on a solution, like what happened with the computer industry?"

There are, and I am one. I have a solution but no funds to move my designs forward into the market. The technology is here right now, I'm looking at it as I pen this post. I need help, and not just from those who speak of why we don't, but from one who would speak of why 'I' personally don't. The technology is there, and every day when I see what I have wrought with my hands into being, I ask myself, "Why are people allowing this huge pile of cash returns and clean energy to lay unused?"

Is it arrogance? Is it ignorance? Is it apathy? The technology is right there taunting me, laughing at me. I know what it is capable of, and I know what I am capable of.

So, as for Chapter 18, it could end with 'and I (Thomas Friedman) helped to save the world by bringing forth this existing technology for the sake of children everywhere'; or it could end 'and I have done nothing, but for my own personal gain and glory'.

I thank you for reading this post.

Jack Talbert
805 Mission Ave
Manhattan, KS 66502

As always the password is green.

Jack D. Talbert (not verified)
November 11th 2008, 11:48 pm

Re: "HotFlat&Crowded"
205 Easy ways to Save the Earth
page 213
Are you really sure about-
"* Drive two billion cars on
ethanol, using one-sixth of the
world's cropland to grow the
needed corn."
Fuel from corn? Corn?
Sure about that?

Diane Hurd (not verified)
November 10th 2008, 10:22 pm

Tom Blees has written a book called "Prescription for the Planet". He has a 3 legged approach to solve the climate crisis.
1. 4th Generation Nuclear Power plants called Integral Fast Reactors (IFRs) The benefits include:
a. They reprocess the spent uranium fuel rods of the older generation nuclear plants. The spent fuel rods become new fuel in the IFRs.
B. This eliminates the need for Yucca Mountain or other nuclear waste storage sites. The old waste become new fuel.
C. In the older generation of nuclear plants only 1% of the uranium fuel was burned, the rest became nuclear waste. In the new 4th generation IFR plants, 99.5% of the fuel is burned.
D. The small amount of waste (less than 1%) from the IFRs is not weapons grade material.
E. It is such a small amount, it can be stored on site.
F. The cost of fuel is better than free. You are burning the waste from the older generation of nuclear power plants.
G. There is no need to mine new uranium. There is enough spent fuel rods on hand to last for the next 200 years. The land and water contamination problem is eliminated.
H. The IFR plants are safe. There is no pressurized water cooling system. There is no danger of a core meltdown due to the design. There is no danger of a radiation release due to redundant core containment construction. In case of equipment failure they shut themselves down automatically.
I. The plants are much less costly to build. If the design is standardized, we would realize economies of scale. Components could be mass produced under factory quality control, instead of the "one off" designs that are here today. The IFR plants could be built adjacent to existing decomissioned coal fired electric power plants and use the existing steam turbines and transmission lines to further reduce costs. Estimates are that new IFR plants could be built for about $1.2 billion per gigawatt which is less than the cost of a new pulverized coal fired power plant and about 1/2 the cost of an IGCC power plant with carbon capture and sequestration.

IFR nuclear plants would solve the problems of: Waste disposal, uranium mining, safety, high construction costs and reduces the threat of proliferation. They provide unlimited baseload power and emit no greenhouse gases. We should roll these plants out on a virtual assembly line and work with China and India to shut down their fossil fuel power plants. They would have all the electric power they need and would not be fouling the earth in the process.

2. The second leg of the solution is the construction of new cars and trucks using Boron as a fuel. Boron is the 5th element. It contains a lot of energy. It is not flammable or combustible or dangerous to handle. The problem with Hydrogen fuel cells are numerous. Hydrogen is very leaky. It is the lightest element. It is very difficult to store and handle without it leaking into the atmosphere. The problem with leaks is this: When Hydrogen goes into the air in it's elemental form, it rises in the atmosphere and combines with ozone. This in effect destroys the ozone layer which protects the earth from UV rays. The problem we have with the ozone hole around Antarctica would seem miniscule. If we were to rollout fuel cell cars in numbers large enough to mitigate the CO2 emissions from autos there would be inevitable hydrogen leaks. We can not take the chance of destroying the ozone layer by building large numbers of fuel cell cars.

A 1.5 pound block of boron contains about the same amount of energy as a gallon of gas, but weighs half as much and takes up less than 1/4 of the volume. Boron is cheap and abundant. The chicken & egg infrastructure problem is solved for a boron car. The boron has to be burned in pure oxygen. An oxygen extraction unit has to be part of the engine. As the boron is burned, the heat turns a turbine and provides electric power to the motors in the wheels, the fuel when burned becomes boron oxide. When the boron fuel is all used up, you simply take the boron oxide to the nearest store and trade it in for a new block of boron. The cost would be approximately equivalent to 25 cents per gallon. The store (maybe a 7-11) would ship the boron oxide to a reprocessing plant (an IFR) where is it put under heat and pressure with a catalyst; the oxygen is removed from the boron block and the oxygen is returned to the atmosphere from where it came. Then the new reprocessed boron block is shipped back to the 7-11 store and is sold to the next customer as new fuel. (See "Prescription for the Planet" for details)
3. The third leg of the solution is the recycling of garbage. The process called Plasma Waste Conversion is a technology that is here now. It works like this: A truck load of garbage backs up to a hopper and dumps it's load. The garbage is then shredded (including glass and metal). Then the shredded garbage goes into a vessel where it is heated by a plasma torch (the same type of torch that is used for cutting steel) The garbage is heated to about 17,000 degrees Centigrade, about the temperature of the surface of the sun. The garbage is broken down into two main elements, hydrogen and carbon. A hydrocarbon syngas is created. The syngas then goes through a conversion process where the elements are recombined into useful products such as sythetic oil, plastics, all kinds of building materials, even gasoline. The first plasma waste conversion plant is being built by Hitachi and is scheduled to come on line in 2009 in St. Lucie County Florida. The cost is about $250 Million for one of these plants. They can also be used to treat sewage sludge. They can also be used to convert existing landfills to useful brownfields. Another use is the treatment of Superfund toxic clean up sites, of which there are about 1200 in the US. A byproduct of the process is heat which can be used to turn a steam turbine to make additional electricity.

IFR nuclear power plants, built on a large scale can provide baseload power with no greenhouse gases. IFR nuclear plants can replace fossil fuel plants world wide, providing unlimited amounts of electric power. (See also in the book the use of a Nuclear Battery for communities that are not connected to a grid.) Boron fueled cars can replace gasoline cars and produce no greenhouse gases. Plasma waste conversion plants can recycle everything and make useful products and electric power generation in the process.
This 3 legged approach is code green on steroids.

Ron Hayden (not verified)
November 10th 2008, 12:07 am

Clean electrons via solar and wind energy need to be a top priority for this next administration since the past eight years have been lost due to apathy, ignorance, greed and the inability to understand the abstract. If there could be a positive development from global warming maybe the Native Americans could benefit from our wasteful attitudes. The government and/or utility companies could lease their lands in Montana, Wyoming, Dakotas avoiding "sacred lands" of course, and develop and construct solar and wind turbines on the reservations which would provide clean electrons nationally and also create an industry and jobs for a people forgotten and/or ignored. The local, national, and global impact could be infinite. I have some close friends that are Crow living in Pryor, Montana and I have visited them on "the Rez" multiple times observing their culture and lifestyles. In lieu of teaching their children to be black jack dealers the solar and wind utilites would provide quality jobs, careers and hope. This would provide an industry that would help many of the tribes (Crow, Lakota, Dakota, Blackfeet, Cheyenne, etc.) to have honor again and give hope for the future generations and alleviate the epidemic of drug, alcohol, spouse, and child abuses. If there was ever an industry that could potentially help these people this would have to be at the forefront. Global Warming is already a political hotbed so I do not want to complicate the situation further with the Native American issue but it would be remarkable to help erase another "blackeye" of lies, corruption, broken treaties, and genocide to provide these tribes with jobs to provide clean energy and in essence help the world.
Thank you for your time. Please feel free to comment at my email address and provide contacts if you agree with my sentiments.

Jon Zern, DVM (not verified)
November 9th 2008, 9:45 pm