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Paperback Hot, Flat, and Crowded 2.0: Why We Need a Green Revolution--And How It Can Renew America Book

ISBN: 0312428928

ISBN13: 9780312428921

Hot, Flat, and Crowded 2.0: Why We Need a Green Revolution--And How It Can Renew America

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Book Overview

A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year A Washington Post Best Book of the Year A Businessweek Best Business Book of the Year A Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year In this brilliant, essential book, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Thomas L. Friedman speaks to America's urgent need for national renewal and explains how a green revolution can bring about both a sustainable environment and a sustainable America. Friedman explains how global...

Customer Reviews

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A utopian view of our future

Tom Friedman presents a refreshing, journalist's review of the new possibilities for the so-called green revolution. The author examines several good ideas for substainability and a few poor ones. Take Cap-and Trade. Jim Hansen, NASA climatologist, describes it as a "Temple of Doom" for life on our planet. Friedman brings up the European example as a failure of the program: "The case in point is the European experience: they spent $50 billion on carbon trading, their CO2 emissions actually increased, and the largest payment went to a German coal-burning utility!" Friedman offers a counter-suggestion: carbon tax: " But the whole point of a cap-and-trade regime is to disguise any pain and pretend that we aren't even imposing a tax. To my ear, it is like trying to desegrated the University of Mississippi, Ole Miss, in 1962 by letting James Meredith go to night school." "Some argue that a carbon tax would handicap the American economy by making our exports more expensive and less competitive. He make note that countries like Denmark and Norway have imposed a CO2 tax for many years. "Denmark today is the world's leading exporter of wind turbines and has 4% unemployment --in part because the way it has taxed energy has helped stimulate a whole new clean-tech industry there." The author presents case studies of successful programs the United States has already implemented. He recalls the Porter hypothesis, "appropriately planned environmental regulations will stimulate technological innovation, leading to reductions in expenses and improvements in quality." In 2004, the EPA introduced new Tier II standards on diesel engines for nitrogen oxide. GE was forced to produce diesel locomotives to meet these new standards. Rather than strap on improvements to existing models, an approach the Big Three automakers did poorly in the 1970s to improve milage, GE's approach was different, better. They invented a new locomotive from the wheels up. Even China buys its locomotives from GE's Erie, PA plant. The new engine produces the same horsepower with twelve cylinders as the old one did with sixteen cylinders. "Best of all is that these locomotives are reliable. "They don't stop on the tracks," says John Dineen, GE's Transportation president and CEO. The Germans and Chinese are buying these locomotives as fast as Erie can make them. The author overlooks the changes needed in corporate structure. GE is a nimble conglomerate that seeks talent and promotes sucess and takes risks. Could you see BP or GM taking those kind of risks. Not in our current view of the corporation! There are some journalistic failures though. Friedman touts the success of California in cutting greenhouse gases by half . Certainly, California is to be commended for setting the mark high for efficiency standards affecting cars, refrigerators and air conditioners. However, this was at a price. I lived in California during this time. I defy him to show how California decreased emis

Hot Flat and Crowded

Hot Flat and Crowded by Thomas Friedman is a timely book that leaves the reader with a fear and at the same time hope for the world we live in. The book tells us about topics such as the US dependency on oil, and how some people believe that Global warming is a myth created to slow down China's industry, and how today we live in a world where the same job can be done by someone living in India just as well if not better than someone in the US. Friedman's book goes in depth into three related topics, which are the world's current state of being Hot (global warming), Flat (Internet leveling the playing field) and crowded (self explanatory). This book doesn't stop with explaining these issues or with giving examples of each in vivid detail, or with citing evidence to support the accusations but goes on to tell us what we, not only as a country, but as part of the greater community of planet earth must do. This book is exciting. This might be hard to believe given that the topics on the surface might seem terribly dull and bland, but when delved into deeper with more attention to detail, and when given a better understanding (which the book provides) these issues and topics become so much more than just a bunch of dull economic situations. As a sixteen year old high school student I cannot stress how strongly I believe that this book should be read by every single person in America of high school age or older. For a youth like myself this book served as an eye opener to what our world's situation is and how my generation needs to be the generation that makes the necessary changes. For older readers like my parents this book serves the purpose of encouraging them to elect strong and innovative leaders and for they themselves to start on the process of adjusting their lifestyles. To all readers; young, middle aged, and elderly, this book tells us that just because there is no attack on Pearl Harbor or missiles aimed at us from Cuba there is still a very real threat. The threat is not communism or Nazi aggression but an aggressively growing world wide middle class that when combined with our fossil fuel dependence creating global warming we have a combustible situation.

A manifesto for our times

What a timely book! Following an election in which the future of the planet was hotly debated, the market is ripe for this accessible yet information-packed treatise on the perilous state of the environment, how we got here and how we must proceed if we are to avoid catastrophe. Thomas L. Friedman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign affairs journalist for the New York Times, is known for his ability to synthesize information from diverse sources. He uses the first half of the book to thoroughly convince us that we do indeed have a problem, and a very grave one. In his past books, Friedman has argued that globalization is "flattening" the world, making competition between countries more possible and more fair. China and India's booming economies are giving millions more people opportunities to move up to the middle class. These millions feel they deserve a better life --- better being defined as more comfortable, consuming more resources like their American brothers and sisters. The problem is that we are quickly running out of the cheap, dirty fuel that allowed the first world countries to develop. But increasing carbon dioxide emissions from dirty fuels like oil and coal are contributing to what Friedman terms "global weirding." Add to this mix burgeoning population growth, and you get a world that is hot, flat and crowded. Friedman provides plenty of scientific support to back up his claims that life as we know it (cheap gas, cheap energy, a human-friendly climate) is endangered, one way or another. As he puts it, "if we don't make the hard choices, nature will make them for us." The second half of the book is a guided tour through what some of those "hard choices" may be. "Green" must be more than a fad, he argues, and every magazine article that touts "easy" ways to save the planet does a disservice by trivializing what may in fact be deadly serious. Yet Friedman believes we are up to the task and that America must lead the way in both innovation and conservation. He describes a new Energy-Climate era in which information technology meets energy technology. In his vision, our washer, dryer and refrigerator become smart appliances that communicate with a revolutionized energy grid to buy electrons when they are cheapest. No matter whether our cars are plugged in at home or in a parking lot, they can both buy and sell electricity, depending on whether they need it or have it. But to get to this sustainable utopia, our government and culture need to make investments now. We have to engineer our economy so that alternative energy innovations are made because industry knows they will be competitive. If that means keeping gasoline prices above $4/gallon in order to do so, so be it. If we doubt that will work, we need only look to Europe, where gas prices are astronomical and small, energy-efficient cars are the norm. America must lead, Friedman argues, or we'll be forced to play catch-up with China and India. He introduces us to some American

Changed my perspective on energy, sustainability, and the environment

Before reading this book I was your typical ugly american. Put up another coal fired plant so I can keep my house like an ice box in atlanta in the middle of summer. Well needless to say my perspective has changed after reading this book. Now I am keeply committed to furthering renewable energy and leading a Green Revolution.

Good Insights!

Global warming, rapidly growing populations, and expansion of the world's middle class through globalization have produced a planet that is "hot, flat, and crowded." It will be too late to fix things in just a few years unless the U.S. steps up now to take the lead in a worldwide effort to replace wasteful, inefficient energy supplies. Instead, we have put up more walls than ever as we export our fears of terrorism and indulge in petty political fights that postpone fixing even Social Security, Medicare, (jobs lost through free trade - I added that one), our infrastructure, immigration, deficits at all levels and education because we feel invulnerable. It (forecasted problems) won't happen to us because we can just borrow our way to prosperity and/or keep on doing what we've always been doing. Europe's response to the 1973-74 Arab oil embargo was to raise gas taxes; in addition, France launched a massive investment into nuclear energy (much of their waste is reprocessed and reused). Japan also raised gas taxes and launched a huge drive for energy efficiency. The U.S. raised auto efficiency standards only to have them rolled back under Reagan, who also removed the Carter solar panels from the White House. In late 2007 the U.S. moved the fuel economy standard to 35 mpg (where Europe and Japan already are), by 2020. Detroit tells us they were only building what the public wanted (SUVs, light trucks), but "forgets" to tells us about their successful lobbying to hold down the gas tax. Three Mile Island ended U.S. efforts to build nuclear power. Deforestation in places like Indonesia and Brazil creates more CO2 than all of transportation. The average cow creates 600 liters of methane/day - 27X the power, but not as long lived, as CO2. Subsidies in China, India, and the Middle East have helped spike demand for oil. Similarly in the U.S. re agriculture. Saudi Arabia (Sunni) and Iran (Shiite) contend for leadership in the Islamic world. The more a state can rely on oil riches, the less it is concerned about democracy or developing its people. Also referred to as "Dutch disease" by economists - natural resources create a strong currency that then weakens manufacturing and eventually hollows it out. Strong natural resources also reduces pressure for women to work, become educated, and have rights - men's earnings are enough. Still another similar problem occurred during the Cold War - some states were supported (aka natural resources) because of their value to either the East or West. Result: Bush's failure to push oil conservation has been highly destructive towards other values that he professes. Russia originally thrived on prison labor and forced labor on collective farms. Eventually even those sources were not enough, but the rise in oil prices per Arab oil embargo revived their economies and allowed expanding their influence. The subsequent fall in oil prices in the 1980s (conservation) and 1985 Saudi Arabian 4X boost in produc
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