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.


This is an idea I had when the airline crisis was very popular in the news. Airlines are looking for money any way they can get it nowadays due to rising transportation costs. They have started charging for luggage, and other extra services that used to be free. The airline industry is also horribly dirty, using huge amounts of jet fuel per flight. Unfortunately, it is still they most efficient way to travel long distances.

I have read, as many others I am sure have, about MAGLEV trains becoming increasingly popular in Japan and some European nations. These trains use electromagnets to propel them to speeds of up to 350 mph. A MAGLEV project funded by the federal government to connect major cities would greatly improve efficiency and costs by servicing far more people than an airplane could. Energy and transportation costs would decrease significantly due to cleaner fuels. The security problem of airlines would also be virtually eliminated (try hijacking a train and steering it off course!). If MAGLEV trains were to replace airplanes as the primary mode of long-distance domestic travel, it would be cheaper, more efficient, safer, and greener.

Chet Berman

Chet Berman (not verified)
October 19th 2008, 1:14 pm

To elaborate on the ideas of my last post, how about combining the engineering advantages of the technology behind the Maglev wind turbine(making use of magnetic levitation to be more effective than conventional wind farms), see
with that of the Solar Tower: this takes advantage of the differences in temperature
resulting in an updraft, from which electricity can be generated. See: ?
Aeronautical engineers could design a Maglev turbine,
to be included within the Solar Tower. It also occurred to me, that new ways of storing
The energy from the work they do could be developed i.e., as pressurised air and heat in underground cells. It might even be possible to build them
underwater, as differences in sea temperature and the movement of its currents
is another resource has been overlooked. Such structures might also help to protect
fish stocks and other marine life; they would be no go areas for fishing trawlers.

With the finance for the Green Code (not a plan, so it isn’t about state control), the competition and enterprise of great minds could boldly take us were no one has been before. R & D should be on a road map to benefit the many and not just the few.

Paul Healey (not verified)
October 19th 2008, 12:07 pm

After listening to your interview
with Adam Bolton on Sky News this morning,
I was very impressed and inspired
(gave me some new ideas i.e., on how Solar Tower and Maglev Technology could be developed) by your plan for a new Energy Technology.

It is how this drive might
succeed that I want address: I think your initiative could be the most significant step in addressing our world's survival (bigger than Hoover's plans of the 30's) ever brought to the publics’ attention. Assuming your book addresses others rights and interests, I hope it will succeed!

What I would personally like to see and even be involved in, is a web or sites, which would contribute to the running of this plan. Those who have a keen interest and will to invest in the philosophy, science and technology that is an alternative to the interests of those(like spoilt children), who promote and sponsor free trade; unfettered growth(exploitation) with self-determination, leading to war, recession, poverty, disease and famine, that might help to fast forward the initiative for a new ET plan.

Paul Healey (not verified)
October 19th 2008, 9:34 am

Dear Mr. Friedman
Is there any people to count how many carbon dioxide were produced in the solar panles,wind power generators and bio-energy manufacturing procedures?
Of cause,It has to be count including in the transportation.
However,We never count the energy to be cost in those power generators manufacturing procedures yet and estimate wind power generators for weather effcts.

Leonardo da Vinci had invented a water-lifting mechanical structure in 17th century.It is a perpetual motion mechanical structure. Now,there are so mamy perpetual motion mechanical structure to be issued. Those mechanical structure could manufacture mass energy but without any material was costed and carbon dioxide were produced. You may
type "perpetual motion" or " Free Energy " to serch in and
You may make references in
I think it will be great,if those mechanical structures work with Tesla coil!

Wang, Kaihsuan (not verified)
October 19th 2008, 6:52 am

Bush is a sucker who and his fellows (Paulson and his alike) has sucked all the world in present crisis. American Democracy is now synonym with failed Wall Street, Failed GM and soon to be failed GE with many others across the Globe. America was once a great nation, but unfortunately leaders like Bush has destroyed all, the good will, the might of America. If $ fails today (China is the key) America will go USSR way as DSA (Divided States of America). California Governor is right in asking 7 Billion for managing his state when Pauly can give 700 Billion to those who generated the present crisis. Soon America will see similar demands from other states.

American democracy is now synonym with war with Iraq, which has killed may innocent men, women and children for American love of Oil. There was no WMD (weapons of mass destruction), it was just oil politics at its dirtiest by America. Any American reading this should understand that when they fill their car with gasoline it has some Iraqi blood in it.

The present fluctuation in Oil Prices has nothing to do with demand from China and India as has been publicized lately. It is Arabs and Americans against each other and using derivative and financial engineering to manipulate the prices of Oil. America has long used the financial engineering to keep the oil prices at very low levels. Now the Arabs are started learning the good old tricks and using the same against America for its crime against Muslims. Just wait for November Contact date when you will have a 25-50$ jump in oil prices in a day with OPEC doing the production cut and all those who have shorted oil will have to cover their positions. (Fed and their accomplice)

I just simply cannot understand when going Green was in American long term Strategic Interest how come these American President followed the opposite direction in name of saving their otherwise dead industry like Auto, Oil. Had it been a third world country, i would have understand, but seeing this happening in world oldest democracy, is pathetic. Mr. Friedman is right in saying that if USA doesn't correct its way in next decade it is in real danger of becoming second grade power. Next 12 Years will decide the future of many generations will be USA China or maybe India.


CarbonDhari (not verified)
October 19th 2008, 4:00 am

Mr. Friedman-
This is a follow-up to one of your suggestions - that we establish a floor under oil prices to ensure that market fluctuations do not undercut incentives for alternative energy developers. The current drop in oil prices caused by the financial crisis, while a boon to consumers in the short run, could be counterproductive to our goal of achieving energy independence.

I would like to suggest that President Bush has a rare opportunity to at least partially redeem his legacy by proposing and pushing hard for the following initiative:

1. Set a price floor under oil at whatever the current price is, per barrel.

2. Whenever the market price rises above this level, let the floor price increase along with the market price until some target level is reached (e.g., $100 per barrel) that would ensure an adequate incentive for alternative energy entrepreneurs.

3. If and when the world market price falls below the set floor, the difference could be used either to subsidize energy conservation measures, or to provide a tax credit to low-income homeowners.

Since this would not involve an immediate tax increase or an increase in oil prices at the time of implementation, it might be more acceptable to the general public (and to their political representatives) than an increased gas or carbon tax.

This could be touted as a patriotic measure to enable us to free ourselves from OPEC's stranglehold. If the President were to put forth such a proposal, he would have no political price to pay, in view of his lame-duck status, and he would no doubt gain some unexpected allies, such as the Sierra Club and possibly even Al Gore. Of course Senators McCain or Obama could propose this as well, but they might not want to risk doing it before the election.

Jerrold Fried (not verified)
October 18th 2008, 7:48 pm

The ONE thing that must change is the one thing that took "species human," on its path to here, assuming the role of "top predator."
Our ancient "domestication" of wild animals that are now considered "farmed animals," and the speciesist, human chauvanist attitudes that somehow the "Bible" entitles us to use and abuse them, is at the crux of modernity's dilemna.
It is my view after learning about the HORRORS humans impose and inflict upon animals, that we have become a society filled with the same predatory behaviors we use on animals. From predatory eating to predatory lending and everything in between, we are the living experiment in what happens when herbivores act like carnivores.....
The law of nature, cause and affect, sowing and reaping, trumps man-made laws, especially when those "laws" are selective to serve the creators of the industrial devolution, the ethos that nature is a resource, a commodity to serve humans alone.
We too, are reduced to unit of productivity, valued, like cows, pigs, chickens, sheep, goats, only for what we can produce economically, all numbered in this giant holocaust, slaughterhouse of life.....
Animals are "products", fish and the oceans reduced to "fisheries" instead of marine ecology, trees are "timber," or "board feet," rather than entire eco-systems that give life, provide shelter and food for animals, insects, birds, exchange carbon and hold water in their roots.
Books like Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn, explain the current crisis of natural law against human law. Books like Eternal Treblinka, Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust, by Dr. Charles Patterson, , examine the reduction of animals to slaves and how human slavery and war began shortly after learning force from using it on animal first. The work of author and activist Vasu Murti,, enlighten us to many aspects of animal rights that would allow us to progress to a humane and healthier reverence for all living beings.
The one thing that took humanity on this crash course with itself, and affects every living thing on earth, is our relationship to the animals, birds, fish, all of nature.
Our chauvanist, speciesist attitudes and assumptions as "top predator" wedges the ability to move ahead. The very nature of capitalism is based on the ideology of theft.
We stole this land from indigenous people, stole Africans to work the fields and build our foundation, stole land from native species, as we still do today, and we steal from nature to produce the consumer goods that require raw materials.
While we are trapped in our own design, we can choose LIFE and mercy, every time we open our mouths and put a fork into it.
Animal agribusiness and animal farming , besides being inherently violent( humane slaughter is the epitome of oxymoron, Palin and pro-life a close second) consume more fossil fuels than the entire transportation sector, according to UNFAO report, Livestock's Long Shadow. www.petatv.cpm
Leaders in the green evolution must include shifting to a vegan diet as the easiest and most life changing behavior to stem this toxic tide our species has created.
On every level, it aspires to our higher capabilities and behaviors.
"True human goodness, in all its freedom and purity, can come to the fore,only when its recipient has no power. Mankinds true moral test, its fundamental test, (which lies deeply hidden from view) consists of its attitudes towards those most at our mercy:animals. And in this resoect, mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle SO fundamental, all others stem from it." Milan Kundera

Laura Beth (not verified)
October 18th 2008, 6:50 pm

For a revolution in clean technologies, energy efficiency and conservation there is an immediate need of assessment of emissions from the existing technologies. Unless measured it is not possible to manage and innovate.

This information is essential for companies in developing countries like India if they want to surpass developed countries in implementing sustainable environment technologies. With this and the amount of resources available in India, it may take even less than 10 years.

Although there are some voluntary initiatives of disclosing this information, mainstreaming this will create new avenues in the market to innovate, compete and implement.

Aloke Barnwal (not verified)
October 18th 2008, 1:31 pm

India will outgreen US and China in Sustainable Development and we will take the lead in next 10 years and not 50-60 years as someone reported above. Period. Full Stop. Over and Out.

Vivek Dhariwal, Gurgaon, India.

Vivek Dhariwal (not verified)
October 18th 2008, 11:26 am

Lets not forget about India. In this book there is a lot of China going on but little do we know that India, in the next 50 or 60 year is going to overtake China and America in Environmental technology, Internet technology and whatnot. India is going to be the next super power. The world has forgotten India's Military and economic power and India is going to lead for Environmental technology. India also holds 1 billion people where a lot of the population is under 15. Also the reason we are in this mess is because of the US. But India was smart enough to keep a 51% steak in the banking system. I know India is corrupt but it will go. At the end of the day, its India that shall win!

Rish Tagore (not verified)
October 17th 2008, 11:22 pm

Recall your comments from HFC viz. innovation. It occurred to me that big energy plants and the power grid are resistant to innovation because of their size. It costs billions to set up a new energy plant on their present scale. Hence, the energy companies want to make sure they get their money's worth before they build again. Consolidated energy production is stifling to innovation.

On the other hand, if we decentralize energy production, each discrete energy plant will become smaller, and cheaper. An example might be a photovoltaic solar system that serves only the house it rests on. There would be a market for many millions of these devices. The product line would benefit from economies of scale and the innovation cycle would be much tighter. An added benefit would be that an array of discrete energy production devices would be much harder to knock out via terrorist attack or natural disaster. It's also an easy retrofit to existing structures.

Ejner Fulsang
Belmont, CA

Ejner Fulsang (not verified)
October 17th 2008, 3:50 pm

Thank you for writing "Hot Flat and Crowded!" I appreciate how you have combined ideas and observations to sound several alarms and present solutions. Also, I wholeheartedly agree with your observation in Chapter Nine that "green" must be quantified to mean anything.

Here is my not-so-generally-known observation:

With a proper choice of battery chemistry, the electric bicycle offers a very cost effective means to address global warming through CO2 emission reduction. If 10% of US vehicle miles were completed on an electric bicycle instead of in a car, 0.13 Gigatons of CO2 would be abated per year. The individual rider would save $446 per ton of CO2 abated, in gasoline alone, or $2332 per ton if an automobile was removed from service. This far exceeds any per ton savings due to 42 other abatement measures described in the "US Greenhouse Gas Abatement Mapping Initiative, 2007 Executive Report" published by McKinsey and Company.

Automobile transportation accounts for the most significant share of oil use. The ubiquitous automobile is inherently wasteful. Energy is used to move a vehicle which is typically 20 times heavier than the single occupant payload. Automobiles have become bloated since their inception, to the point where driving one alone is like using a brick to swat a fly. Because of this vast weight difference, the bicycle is a far better candidate for electric propulsion than the automobile.

For use exceeding five miles per day, an electric bicycle is also more systematically efficient than a conventionally pedaled bicycle. This is because US food production uses about ten times more energy than is contained in the food itself. An electric bicycle still has pedals, allowing the rider to obtain just the right level of daily exercise.

An electric bicycle will often travel through urban traffic faster than an automobile. Many also have enough range to complete 90% of the trips made in the US.

Worldwide, electric bicycle production alone has increased to 40% of automobile production. Bicycles are used in lieu of the automobile for many trips in other developed countries. In the US, bicycles are still seen primarily as exercise equipment or toys. This under-utilization of bicycles may change as the external costs of automobile use and benefits of electric assists become common knowledge. Government can help by setting national regulations for electric bicycle use, and mandating bicycle lane or path creation.

Referenced justification for above statements is included on our website, along with graphics you may use in your book. Please visit our page describing the benefits and capabilities of electric bicycles:

Jeff Radtke (not verified)
October 17th 2008, 12:50 am

Dear Mr. Friedman,

In chapter 18 you should correct an error that appears in chapter 5 in the last paragraph of page 119. The paragraph reads like historically the % CO2 increase has proceeded the temperature increase. Actually the reverse is true. This error gives a large amount of amunition to the doubters.

Climate scientists have carefully shown that the current situation is different from the historical in that now the CO2 increase is getting ahead of and promoting the temperature increase.


Jerome Lukes

Jerome Lukes (not verified)
October 16th 2008, 10:26 am

Dear Mr. Friedman,
I really enjoyed reading "Hot Flat and Crowded."
There are a few problems with some of the solutions that were talked about in your book. One big problem is that you stress the importance of dealing with CO2, but at the same time you think that it is important to lift people out of "energy poverty." You are not realizing that everything that uses electricity also creates heat. As you lift people out of "energy poverty" and increase their access to computers, appiances and other electronics, heat will be generated. You have solved one problem but have created another. We must find a way to counter balance the heat that will be generated as more people are lifted out of "energy poverty."
You can however use the issue of heat production to your advantage. Business leaders will be anxious to deal with the problem of "global warming" if you stress that computers don't work well in heat. If the world runs out of the natural resources that are currently used to create electricity, companies won't be able to run the air conditioners that help keep computers and computer servers cool. Millions of businesses will shut down if their computers overheat. This will cripple the world economy. No computers, no business, no money.

Heather (not verified)
October 14th 2008, 2:52 pm

Excellent book. I hope you'll be on the next President's advisory board. We need to bring thinkers together with those who can carry out the ideas. Right now Portland, Oregon, has two men who started in a garage redesigning a "wind catcher". It is only 40 inches high and is meant to go on the tops of tall buildings which tend to create their own wind patterns in cities. The shape is not like a pinwheel. If you took a 40 inch x 12 inch piece of paper and gave it a twist, you would have the general idea. It is reported to be quiet and bird friendly. As you say in your book, we need to support this kind of innovation.

I recently went to my rural land planning department to ask if there were regulations concerning wind power since I live on a hill with lots of wind. I was told no, but to please be sensitive of the "ridge view". Hmmm. I think windmills are lovely. We may all have to change perceptions on what is acceptable when it comes to clean energy. We have a PR job ahead of us.

Thank you for what you are doing to make this a better world.

Catherine Matthias (not verified)
October 12th 2008, 8:27 pm

has anyone read energy victory by robert zubrin?

shawn fussell (not verified)
October 12th 2008, 3:14 pm

The "1000Communities2" Proposal: Creating a Multiplier Effect of a Positive Nature


In 1984, the non-profit organization Chattanooga Venture [Chattanooga, Tennessee (USA)] organized a Community Visioning Initiative that attracted more than 1,700 participants, and produced 40 community goals—which resulted in the implementation of 223 projects and programs, the creation of 1,300 permanent jobs, and a total financial investment of 793 million dollars. (For source references, see p. 9 of the “1000Communities2” proposal)

Many Difficult Challenges Ahead

We now live in very complex and challenging times. More and more people, in more and more parts of the world, are coming to the conclusion that all of us have important responsibilities associated with resolving a number of very serious challenges, which include (but are not limited to):

a) global warming and reducing carbon emissions
b) peak oil and reducing dependence on petroleum based products
c) global inequities and the tragic cycles of malnutrition, disease, and death
d) an increasing world population requiring more resources when many resources are becoming more scarce (with a special emphasis on the increasing number of people who are consuming resources and ecological services indiscriminately)
e) there still seems to be a majority of people on the planet who do not have a clear understanding, well-grounded in personal experience, of which basic elements of community life and cultural traditions lead to mutually beneficial understandings, which lead to cycles of violence—and why it is so important for people to achieve clarity on this subject.

The “1000Communities2” Proposal

One suggestion which could assist in bringing many solutions to light at the local community level is a 161 page proposal by this writer titled “1000Communities2” ("1000CommunitiesSquared"). The “1000Communities2” proposal advocates organizing and implementing Community Visioning Initiatives in 1000 communities (communities—or segments of rural areas, towns, or cities—with populations of 50,000 or less) around the world

1. which are time-intensive, lasting even as much as 1½ years (18 months), so as to give as much importance to developing a close-knit community as it does to

a) accumulating and integrating the knowledge and skill sets necessary for the highest percentage of people to act wisely in response to challenges identified as priority challenges
b) helping people to deliberately channel their time, energy, and money into the creation of “ways of earning a living” which are directly related to resolving high priority challenges
c) assisting with outreach, partnership formation, and development of service capacity for a significant number of already existing (or forming) organizations, businesses, institutions, and government agencies
d) helping to build a high level of consensus for specific action plans, which will help inspire additional support from people, businesses, organizations, institutions, and government agencies with significant resources

2. which expand on the concept of “Community Teaching and Learning Centers” (created by the “Teachers Without Borders” organization) so that such local community points of entry function as information clearinghouses, meeting locations, educational centers for ongoing workshops (on a broad range of topics related to the Community Visioning Process, and building the local knowledge base), practice sites for developing “teacher-leaders”, a location for an ongoing “informal” “Community Journal”, a location for listing employment opportunities—and provide a means of responding quickly (by changing the emphasis of workshop content) to new urgencies as they arise

3. and which suggest—as a way of emphasizing the need for an exponential increase in compassion for our fellow human beings—that communities (with the resources to do so) enter into “sister community” relationships with communities in other countries where there has been well documented calls for assistance with basic human needs.

If even a few….

There are many important initiatives which are critical to overcoming the challenges of our times, but which are not quite “coming through the mist as much as they should be.” Community Visioning Initiatives can be very helpful in exactly these kinds of circumstances, as this community building tool encourages and facilitates the creation of a “constellation” of initiatives by which the best (in view of the participants in the community visioning initiatives) solutions to the most difficult (in the view of the participants in the community visioning initiatives) challenges can bubble up to the surface, be recognized as priorities, and therefore be brought forward as appropriate recipients of people’s time, energy, and money. Many people can realize the wisdom of deliberately focusing the way they spend their time, energy, and money. The result can be a deliberate increase in the “ways of earning a living” which are directly related to overcoming the challenges identified by residents as priority challenges. As the ancient Chinese proverb says: “Many hands make much work light.”

If even a few of these kind of Community Visioning Initiatives generated results similar to those achieved by the Chattanooga, Tennessee (USA) Visioning Initiative carried out in 1984 (“Vision 2000”)(see reference in first paragraph), people in all parts of the world—keenly attuned when it comes to resolving challenges which require urgent solutions at all levels of society— could be inspired to carry out similar Community Visioning Initiatives. And if many communities carried out similar initiatives, and also achieved significant results, our collective capacity to resolve the challenges of our times would surely begin to accumulate at an accelerating rate.

Even now, as you are reading this, truly inspiring contributions of genuine goodwill are being generated in a variety of ways—and in a variety of circumstances—by countless numbers of people in communities around the world. A combination of Community Visioning Initiatives, “Community Teaching and Learning Centers” and “sister community” relationships can bring to light the many truly inspiring contributions of genuine goodwill in your community and region, and contribute much to the building of “close-knit” communities of people… communities with a healthy appreciation for each others strengths, communities with a well-developed capacity to resolve even the most difficult challenges—and communities which demonstrate a high level of compassion for their fellow human beings.

[Note: In light of the urgent need to increase collaboration between diverse communities of people, anyone may access all IPCR documents (including the above mentioned 161 page “1000Communities2” proposal) for free, at the website of The Interfaith Peacebuilding and Community Revitalization (IPCR) Initiative ( With Kind Regards, Stefan Pasti, Founder and Outreach Coordinator The IPCR Initiative P.O. Box 163 Leesburg, Virginia 20178 (USA)].

Stefan Pasti (not verified)
October 11th 2008, 4:43 pm

I just finished reading HFC and previously read TWIF and have enjoyed them both. And while I appreciate Mr Friedman's zeal and practical advice for fixing our energy-climate mess, I feel it doesn't come within an order of magnitude of saving us. His recommendation to use less and become more efficient is akin to telling a family with massive debt and no job to spend less. Sure, it beats spending more, but they need to get a new job, pay down all the debt, and build up savings if they want to have any hope of a future. After the gains in efficiency are realized and alternative clean energy sources distributed, we still need to replant our forests, clean our water and air, and cool our planet.

A better analogy is pushing a ball down a hill. Imagine our environment is the stone ball that chased Indiana Jones when he took the Idol. We've been steadily pushing that ball for a couple hundred years down a slight hill. After tremendous effort, we finally got it to start rolling on its own, but we've only pushed harder every year. We've cut down forests, burned our finite fossil fuels, and eaten and used our planet's resources with unrelenting frenzy, dumping and spewing our waste where ever convenient. And now we're told we need to push that ball a little less. Meanwhile, the damage we've done is continuing on its own. The carbon we've already released will continue to heat the planet for centuries or more, the mines we've exhausted will continue to poison rivers, the species we've pushed to extinction will never return. We need to stop pushing altogether, and with singular purpose as a human species move to the other side of the rock and commit to the largest single endeavor man has ever begun and slow this rock down. After that Herculean feat is accomplished and we've managed to stop it, we need to redouble our efforts and redouble them again to push that rock back up the hill. We'll never get our environment back to where it was, but any state above our current one gives us a better chance of survival. The bottom of the hill is not a place where we want to end up. Easter Island holds a glimpse of that for us. There, the islanders wiped out all 17 species of trees to the very last one. Their population crashed from 20,000 to 2,000 once they exhausted everything exhaustible. There's no getting the ball back up the hill there. And if we don't get in front of this thing, if we don't undo the damage we've done, we'll end up at the bottom of the hill.

In addition to the plans for new clean energy, higher standards of efficiency, etc, we need to address how we're going to undo the damage already done to ensure this biosphere remains habitable. We can pepper the seas with iron to induce an algal bloom, we can spray water vapor in the air to seed clouds and increase our albedo, we can rebuild our forests tree by tree if need be, or better yet all of the above and more. But unless plans like these are incorporated into Code Green, we're doing little more than spending less on our children's credit cards.

Josh Kaminoff (not verified)
October 11th 2008, 10:21 am

Education to the public with the same $, marketing and advertising they are putting into any brand selling of other major products. The People don't understand, they listen and use what they hear the most.We have to compete with what the gas and car companies are putting out in marketing. This education plan has to go from K through grave. Then the products need to be available. If this doesn't happen we will lose. There is a place for education... it can work. Educator start putting courses together.

Jim Clover (not verified)
October 8th 2008, 9:27 pm

Mr. Friedman,
I am in the middle of your new book. I agree strongly with the premise that America needs to lead energy revolution for ourselves and the world.

On p263 you give a brief description of Amory Lovins proposal of "Feebates" but you don't address the main benefits of this over a gas tax.
1. The policy could be set up to auto reset as fuel-efficiency improves, driving ever higher standards without further action from the government. The midpoint of the fee vs. rebate level would be set on average efficiency from the year before. As cars improve the standards would increase as well.
2. It has its biggest impact when people are buying a car. If you are only going to own the car for 3-4 years then most people would only consider the cost of gas for those 3-4 years, but the car will probably be in use for many more years.
3. Little or no money would need to go to the government. This would make it easier to sell politically.
4. Policy does not push people to small cars. As you mention the fee - rebate is set within a size class. So an SUV that gets 40 miles to the gallon would have a bigger rebate than on that gets 20 mpg.

Please expand on this in the new version of your book. I do not know why a version of this policy could not be applied to appliances rather than regulations. The auto-reset feature is too strong to be ignored.

Thank you,
Scott V.

Anonymous (not verified)
October 7th 2008, 11:39 pm

I have not (yet) read "Hot, Flat & Crowded" but hope that you are not perpetuating the atrocious "24x7x365" terminology that you did use in "The World is Flat" - after all 24 hours times 7 days times 365 days does not constitute a sensible time frame - I think 24x365 is what is usually meant and what should actually be used.

Ted Burrowes (not verified)
October 7th 2008, 5:37 pm

Mr. Friedman

"WE" may need to aggressively start this process, but it will be up to our children to expand/continue/perfect the system. Today's elementary students need to be well versed in general atomic science, rudimentary electrical properties, natural resource responsibile usage, lemonade stand Keynesian economics, and even global synergies. They are the folks that are not predisposed to unlimited, unilaterally available, electrical grid expectations.
They can be taught to value the grid...and be challenged to improve on it daily. The sooner they get the basics, the faster the innovation will come.

How old were Steven Jobs or Bill Gates when they began their "careers" that ultimately shaped/drove/powered how we use technology? I promise there is an American child, that if given the resources, knowledge and ability to JUST DO IT...will. The sooner they get well-versed on the ECE and it's impact...the quicker they will look where we haven't been.

Clean electon sharing is out there. And the quicker we move the educational system along the curve, the sooner we will have more thoroughly educated eyes on the prize.

NMO (not verified)
October 7th 2008, 12:53 pm

Mr Friedman:

The content of chapter 18 of your book should deal with a vital and increasingly relevant question: How do we prevent the green revolution from turning into the green bubble?

In short, can we learn from the mistakes of the Internet bubble and the housing bubble(most recently, but other examples go back centuries). How do we prevent green companies and technologies from gaining a faddish and irrational popularity that rapidly becomes divorced from reality?

How do we ensure that investors don't just throw money at anyone with claimed green credentials and a sexy powerpoint presentation? How do we imbibe the coming revolution with a fiscal responsibilty and a much needed common sense?

Seeing a burgeoning clean energy industry burst onto the scene in a blaze of hype, only to falter and stutter, will embolden skeptics and waste precious time that we need to give ourselves and our biosphere a fighting chance. I can think of nothing more important than doing this right, the first time.

Dillon Davie

Dillon Davie (not verified)
October 6th 2008, 6:25 pm

It is very exciting to see all of the discussion being generated by this book and all of Mr. Friedman's writings. As a teacher do not overlook the importance of education now and in the future for these topics.
There is a class that many high schools now offer which does teach many of these topics. The course description of Advanced Placement Human Geography is filled with them. I have taught this course for 6 years and as I read Friedman in just a few pages I can see direct connections to all of our units of study.
In all geography classes we need more advocates to have more schools offer them. To face our future challenges we need to produce our next generation of leaders with the knowledge base needed to meet them. The earlier the better.

Jerry (not verified)
October 5th 2008, 4:17 pm

A few days ago during the VP debate we all heard this from candidate Sarah Palin:

"They know that even in my own energy-producing state we have billions of barrels of oil and hundreds of trillions of cubic feet of clean, green natural gas. And we're building a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipeline which is North America's largest and most you expensive infrastructure project ever to flow those sources of energy into hungry markets."

"Clean" natural gas? "Green" natural gas? What planet are we on?

But then I remembered reading the "easy" ways to save the earth in Chapter 9:

"Replace 1,400 large coal-fired electric plants with natural-gas-powered facilities."

Will there be a green incentive to develop Alaska's trillions of cubic feet of (non-renewable) natural gas? I hope not for two simple reasons.

1. It places northern tier states (including Alaska ironically) that use natural gas for seasonal heating at a price disavantage while the 24/7/365 base load is consumed by more and more gas-fired plants.

2. Using natural gas to produce electricity is inefficient. New generation gas-fired plants are 50% efficient and less considering electrical transmission losses.

My natural gas furnace is 94% efficient. Granted it does consume a non-renewable fuel, but conservation is conservation. No?

As US Secretary of Energy, Samuel Bodman has said, "As I often joke, using natural gas to generate electricity is like washing your dishes in fine scotch!"

This is no joke. Natural gas should not be tossed so casually into the clean green energy basket.

W B Poykko (not verified)
October 4th 2008, 2:13 pm

Good book and good issues that need to be brought to the forefront. There has been a green (money) movment in the US for many years and some people have much mor of it than others. The greed for more green by the wealthy and the policy makers that support the offset the distribution of wealth in America drive policy. With the US bailout of the banking industry, how much of that money is going to end up in the coffers of the wealthy and how much is going to go to the support of the banking industry? What the US needs is a leader to not only lead the US into change, but the whole world into change. The whold banking failure has been driven by the greed of the officers of companies looking to build their personal wealth on the backs of the many.
The US needs a green movement, however it is towards sustainable environment,less greed and checks on policy that allow greed to flourish, a kinder global citizen, and most of all a move away from the green of money to the green of the planet and an honest reversal of the hypocritical stand on green issues by greedy policy makers. Can the US and the rest of the world change from an ego state of wealth and power to a harmonious state of existence with the earth and ourselves? What we need as a global community is a shared vision of a "green" earth and an ego that is driven by green and not greed.

Anonymous (not verified)
October 2nd 2008, 10:33 am

I wholeheartedly applaud Mr. Friedman's ability to wrap our dire condition in concepts like (paraphrasing; error exception requested):)
"There is no such thing as a free climate. Citing another "favorite"- "Our energy policy really equates to nothing more than the sum of all of the past 15 years of political lobbyist efforts and contributions." Our energy policy is totally for sale. The current Administration thinks it is apparently OK.
My complaint is the failure of even Msrs. Friedman, Hawken, Lovings, Berry, Wilson, et al to GET the most important fact: The most basic need is food, which is most efficiently (land, fertilizer, labor, transportation, processing, etc) when it is irrigated and fertilized properly. Only fools believe 1.2 T per acre is OK, when the only difference between that and 2.1 T per acre is supplemental irrigation, with appropriate fertilizer additions. All the other investments do not change, for a doubling of yield. These efficiencies can feed a doubling of our global population over the next 35 years, God willing.

Tom Reynolds (not verified)
October 1st 2008, 7:23 pm

Sorry, forgot to leave my coordinates. :)

Best Regards,

Rob Fleischmann

Toronto, Canada

Rob Fleischmann (not verified)
October 1st 2008, 3:17 am

eGenesis is a concept I came up with in the early morning hours of my 40th birthday. I have no clue why I thought this up; other people have huge parties and mid-life crises... I have epiphanies: The "My Solution" part of the document was poised toward a myriad of people I have already faxed this to (George Soros, Hilary Clinton, Bill Clinton, others). I've had the curt "thanks but no thanks" responses and that was it. As expected, this will get shuffled to the bottom of a pile somewhere - so I'm more than happy to share it with you and hope it's considered in some way, shape or forum. :)

[The World Is Flat was a *great* read, btw - thank you!]


A solution to combat global warming, energy depletion and oil dependence, while feeding the world’s growing need for sustainable energy.

With best-efforts against terrorist vulnerability, our energy production must be renewable, clean, safe, and of a source that cannot be mechanized for weaponry of war.

Political motivations, as well as greed and fear must be considered as points of support rather than resistance from the “old guard” in place, today:
oil companies and right-wing partisan politicians.

Gradually positioned as a social movement, oil companies will be expected to participate to maintain their part in global energy production – what I like to call the oiligopoly. This solution will give them a great foothold to that end, anticipating the paradigm shift and their need to maintain power (in every sense). Here, I feel that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword either by petition or participation – people must decide to finally embrace new energy sources and I feel that both electricity and hydrogen are key components to this solution.

Banking on the momentum of this social awakening, politicians will rally behind a global solution, galvanizing political acceptance and national unity among world democracies on all continents, a global unity; a oneness, deeply sought-after for decades since World War II and now, while mired in terrorist activity.

In the face of a warming planet visualized through movies and documentaries, the Internet has supplied a global platform for discussion; now stirring a common purpose among world citizenry. Usually reserved for space stations, pandemics and genocide; this cooperation is building though its focal point is yet to be defined. Knowing we must do something is no longer half the battle – we are too far down the path to not have a defined direction for this cause. This is why I feel with deployment of this global solution, world democracies stand a chance to recoup their rightful dominion and leadership, while combating the imbalance of power we experience today – on so many levels.


eGENESIS Environmental, funded by the Syngenuity Fund.

Please consider my proposal carefully, I am not asking for funding – I ask for your influence, expertise and endorsement for this plan – and/or insights on how best to alter this concept for its better execution.

I subscribe strongly to your ideology (80% reduction below 1990 levels by 2050) and I would like to think that I have a good idea every now and then…

eGENESIS Environmental LLC will fund long term energy R&D, manufacturing and deployment strategies. With the goal of supporting renewable energy solutions which can not be directly used or converted to weaponry and will not pose further undue strain on Earth’s ecosystem.

Currently known pop technologies include: Tidal, Wave, Hydro-Electric, Wind, Geothermal, Solar, Stirling and possibly, Hydrogen Fuel Cell. The ever-elusive Cold-Fusion systems of science lore may also be investigated among other energies. Ethanol may be investigated; however, exhaust production – whether vegetable or fossil – I still suspect will contribute to global warming and the burden placed on the - already strained - global food distribution chain eliminates this as a viable candidate. Conversely, Nuclear energy is costly, waste-producing, ultimately harmful to the environment, convertible to weaponry and prone to terrorist attack and environmental disaster.

A proposed partnership with current global oil producers may be a good fit: Possibly less costly than a fixed installation and with many benefits; retrofitting oil drilling platforms to act as floating energy generators would solve many of our global issues, while appealing to the oil production companies by maintaining their guarded (read: heavily lobbied) position in our energy grid.

There are many benefits to oil rig conversion:
• mobility allows for easy transfer and implementation of these technologies to all parts of the globe
• mobility allows for re-positioning to take advantage of shifts in seasonal changes, maximizing wind, tidal and solar throughput
• stretching a country’s “power grid” out across the ocean floor to ‘plug in’ these mobile generators allows the safe positioning of the platforms away from mainland and potential terrorist threat; past coral reef sanctuaries and out over open ocean where tidal, wind and solar energy can be harnessed easily and without land consumption
• the platforms were designed for drilling therefore, well-positioned to continue extraction of geothermal energy from beneath the ocean floor
• as hydrogen fuel cells are produced from water and electricity, part of the plant’s electrical production can go toward hydrogen fuel generation, when coupled with the abundance of water it’s floating on
• designed for quick protective measures; windmills can be folded in, solar cells covered, tidal generators locked and geothermal and grid coupling disengaged to allow a free floating platform to weather any storm
• in case of disaster, a sinking platform holds no risk to the environment as all its housed technologies were eco safe to begin with – though I do not condone polluting our ocean floors with decommissioned energy rigs, a sinking energy rig poses a far different threat than a nuclear meltdown

Funds would be used for an extensive research, engineering and platform architecture program to work hand in hand with oil companies to devise possibilities for rig conversion; technology implementation; grid enhancement and connectivity; electricity transfer technologies; hydrogen generation, storage and fuel-cell transfer. Patents and licensing will result directly or from alternate energies partnerships to benefit and grow eGenesis. Ownership of the retrofit technologies will lie with the R&D firm and their implementation licensed by oil platform owners, worldwide. Working with oil companies themselves, eGENESIS strives to motivate their established government lobby from the inside.

SYNGENUITY FUND: “Money is Power”
The Syngenuity Fund LLC stands for Synergy, Ingenuity, Energy and Unity in the fight against global warming, depleting exhaustible energy resources and terrorist activity, while supplicating the global demand for clean, safe and affordable, renewable energy.

This front-loaded fund proposes to take 50% of all investment to directly support efforts toward safe, clean renewable energy technology R&D, manufacturing and deployment. This support comes in the form of an investment foundation, where its success is measured in the shift of global energy demand from non-renewable and/or non-earth-friendly energy, to renewable, clean and eco-friendly, affordable energy supplies that are difficult to mechanize for war.

Where the adage: “Time is Money” is a market-truism supporting our economies for generations; “Energy is Life” is the basis for this fund:

Appealing to high-net-worth and public-eye individuals, this fund endeavors to take advantage of current global woes through leveraged investment (not direct investment) for strife-driven returns, while aggressively searching for energy solutions to combat this anguish in its sister-foundation: eGENESIS. Press about discoveries and advancements through eGENESIS will be given equal coverage and considered part and parcel with the returns reported for this fund, giving investors the opportunity to claim participation in the repair of our global ecosystem, while profiting from its past mismanagement.

The fund shall participate in leveraged, non-participatory investment (i.e. Options, Futures, etc…), to take advantage of current world woes. Such investment shall aim at minimum gross (median-risk) returns of 27% per annum.

• 50% of all investment and re-investment is donated to eGENESIS
• this portion - with the cooperation of global governments – shall be positioned as an aggressive tax deduction
• remaining 50% is regarded as the leveraged Syngenuity investment
• all re-investment is rewarded with a bump in the base return:
1. fund does not guarantee a minimum return – as none can; however,
2. with initial investment, base return starts at 20%
3. base return is due back to investor each year, w/o restriction
4. base return may take the form of fund value, dividends or both
5. next 2% of gross returns is held for fund overhead
6. next 8% is regarded as an optional re-investment in the fund
7. annual net re-investment of 8% or more (regardless of current year’s fund performance) is rewarded with a bump in next year’s base return, by 5%, to a maximum of 25%
8. annual net re-investment of less than 8% is sanctioned with a drop in next year’s base return, by 5%, to a minimum of 15%
9. remaining returns [from above (17%~25%) to above (27%~35%)] split:
• 50%+base to investor
• remainder to fund

Bottom line: the more an investor puts back into the fund, the more is available for eGENESIS and the more they reap in the next year’s returns. As we clean up the environment, their returns shift from old-energy demand to new energy supply – through patents and licensing of the discovered technologies.

Rob Fleischmann (not verified)
October 1st 2008, 2:06 am

Chapter 18 Dreamers...

After reading Mr. Friedman’s book I was sobered by the shear scale of these issues at hand in the reduction of CO2 emission that will challenge the human race for the foreseeable future. Without the invention of a true technological break thru, we will undoubtedly continue to be poisoning the Earth for many years into the future.

One additional solution that was not explored in the book was creating a process of removing carbon from our planet’s atmosphere. The invention of a mechanical device might work if it could clean carbon powered by some type of renewable energy source to lower overall parts per million counts.

I was thinking that maybe we need to engineer a super tree of sorts that converts carbon to oxygen at the most efficient rate possible. This newly engineer tree would be exponentially more efficient then a standard tree in this process. It would be planted throughout our communities, at homes, businesses and public parks in a effort to environmentally clean up the air. If we can engineer our food stocks, then how hard could it be to engineer this super trees?

I’m just thinking maybe there are additional solutions to work the problem from the other end to help clean up the mess.

Jon Auer (not verified)
September 30th 2008, 9:10 pm