Thursday, September 11, 2008

NY Times' Friedman Passionate about Solar

New York Times
columnist Thomas Friedman was on PBS's "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross on Sept. 8. His new book, Hot, Flat and Crowded was just published and was the subject of the interview.

(Listen online:

Friedman, a three-time Pulitzer prizewinner, spoke forcefully about America's need to lead the world's green revolution which he calls "geo-greening." He was critical of both presidential candidates on issues. He disparaged John McCain for not voting eight times in the Senate to extend the federal investment tax credit for solar and wind power. McCain, supposedly a proponent of clean energy, was even in Washington during the last vote. The extension was short a single vote from passing. Friedman said Barack Obama voted three times to extend the tax credit and that he reviewed and admires Obama's energy platform. However, he does not feel Obama has enough political will to put his energy policy in place should he win in November.

Listening to the Friedman interview is strongly recommended. Much of what he talks about is captured in this excerpt:

"The core argument is very simple: America has a problem and the world has a problem. America's problem is that it has lost its way in recent years partly because of 9/11 and partly because of the bad habits that we have let build up over the last three decades, bad habits that have weakened our society's ability and willingness to take on big challenges. The world also has a problem: It is getting hot, flat, and crowded. That is, global warming, the stunning rise of middle classes all over the world, and rapid population growth have converged in a way that could make our planet dangerously unstable. In particular, the convergence of hot, flat, and crowded is tightening energy supplies, intensifying the extinction of plants and animals, deepening energy poverty, strengthening petro-dictatorship, and accelerating climate change. How we address these interwoven global trends will determine a lot about the quality of life on earth in the twenty-first century.

"I am convinced that the best way for America to solve its big problem the best way for America to get its "groove" back is for us to take the lead in solving the world's big problem. In a world that is getting hot, flat, and crowded, the task of creating the tools, systems, energy sources, and ethics that will allow the planet to grow in cleaner, more sustainable ways is going to be the biggest challenge of our lifetime. But this challenge is actually an opportunity for America. If we take it on, it will revive America at home, reconnect America abroad, and retool America for tomorrow. America is always at its most powerful and most influential when it is combining innovation and inspiration, wealth-building and dignity-building, the quest for big profits and the tackling of big problems. When we do just one, we are less than the sum of our parts. When we do both, we are greater than the sum of our parts--much greater."


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