Saturday, January 24, 2009

Hot, Flat and Crowded

"The developing world feels like we sat down to dinner, had the hors d'oeuvres, ate the entrée, pretty much finished off the dessert, invited them for tea and coffee and then said, "Let's split the bill.""

"We will only breathe freely - in every sense of that phrase - if we can reduce global demand for oil and gas. Our own oil dependence is behind more bad trends domestically and around the world than any other single factor I can think of. Our addiction to oil makes global warming warmer, petrodictators stronger, clean air dirtier, poor people poorer, democratic countries weaker, and radical terrorists richer."

"Today, you cannot be either an effective foreign policy realist or an effective democracy-promoting idealist without also being and effective energy-saving environmentalist."

"Al Gore owes us an apology - I humbly suggest that he write an op-ed piece that begins like this: "I'm sorry. I am truly sorry. I want to apologize. I completely UNDERESTIMATED global warming. I beg your forgiveness.""

"...A lot of the IPCC math was developed when emissions from China were going down in the 1990's, and the Soviet Union was collapsing. What is happening now is worse than the worst-case projections that went into the IPCC model."

"Do not confuse the uncertainty about which trajectory we are on for uncertainty about where we are heading. And do not be confused that just because scientists tend to focus on the 10 percent they don't know that the 90 percent they do know isn't already a call to action."

end of interview of Friedman by Fareed Zakaria:

Zakaria: Finally, let me ask you--in that context--what would this do to America's image, if we were to take on this challenge? Do you really think it could change the way America is perceived in the world?

Friedman: I have no doubt about it, which is why I say in the book: I'm not against Kyoto; if you can get 190 countries all to agree on verifiable limits on their carbon, God bless you. But at the end of the day, I really still believe--and I know you do too--in America as a model. Your book stresses this--that even in a post-American world we still are looked at by others around the world as a role model. I firmly believe that if we go green--if we prove that we can become healthy, secure, respected, entrepreneurial, richer and more innovative by greening our economy, many more people will follow us voluntarily than would do so by compulsion of a treaty. Does that mean Russia and Iran will? No. Geopolitics won't disappear. But I think it will, speaking broadly, definitely reposition us in the world with more people in more places. I look at making America the greenest country in the world like running the Olympic triathlon: if you make it to the Olympics and you run the race, maybe you win--but even if you don't win, you're fitter, healthier, more secure, more respected, more competitive and entrepreneurial, because you have given birth to a whole new clean power industry--which has to be the next great global industry--and put your economy on a much more sustainable footing. So to me, this is a win-win-win-win race, and that's why I believe we, America, need to take the lead in it. In the Cold War we had the space race with Russia to see who could be the first to put a man on the moon. Today we need an earth race with Japan, Europe, China and India--to see who can be the first to invent the clean power technologies that will allow man to live safely and sustainably on earth.

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