Thomas Friedman–Off to the Races

I’ve long believed there are two basic strategies for dealing with climate change ”” the “Earth Day” strategy and the “Earth Race” strategy. This Copenhagen climate summit was based on the Earth Day strategy. It was not very impressive. This conference produced a series of limited, conditional, messy compromises, which it is not at all clear will get us any closer to mitigating climate change at the speed and scale we need….

Still, I am an Earth Race guy. I believe that averting catastrophic climate change is a huge scale issue. The only engine big enough to impact Mother Nature is Father Greed: the Market. Only a market, shaped by regulations and incentives to stimulate massive innovation in clean, emission-free power sources can make a dent in global warming. And no market can do that better than America’s.

Therefore, the goal of Earth Racers is to focus on getting the U.S. Senate to pass an energy bill, with a long-term price on carbon that will really stimulate America to become the world leader in clean-tech. If we lead by example, more people will follow us by emulation than by compulsion of some U.N. treaty.

In the cold war, we had the space race: who could be the first to put a man on the moon. Only two countries competed, and there could be only one winner. Today, we need the Earth Race: who can be the first to invent the most clean technologies so men and women can live safely here on Earth.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Climate Change, Weather, Corporations/Corporate Life, Denmark, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Europe, Globalization, Science & Technology

2 comments on “Thomas Friedman–Off to the Races

  1. David Fischler says:

    Friedman seems unaware that his central thesis contains a gross internal contradiction. On the one hand, he contends that the market is the answer to climate change. On the other hand, he says the government has to force the market to act through the use of disincentives to continue its present behavior. What he actually seems to mean is that government manipulation of the market to achieve the government’s pre-determined ends is the answer. If he really wants the market to drive the effort to stem climate change, he ought to be advocating less regulation and disincentive, not more (for instance, cut down on regulations that prevent nuclear power plants from being built).

  2. David Fischler says:

    That should be “to discontinue its present behavior.”