To see Thomas Friedman speak, as I did at The 92nd Street Y on Sunday night, is to witness a live infomercial.
His product? The ET (Energy Technology) Revolution.
He may as well have said:
Friends, are you tired of the following five problems with the state of the world:
- Energy and Natural Resources Demand is greater than supply and always will be as long as we are depending on non-renewables.
- Petrodictatorship Weve been funding both sides of the war on terrorism; the US armed forces and our own energy purchases.
- Climate Change Al Gore should apologize for underestimating climate change. Weve introduced so much Co2 into the atmosphere “we no longer know the difference between an act of god and an act of man.”
- Energy Poverty 1.6 billion people on the planet have no grid electricity. “If you dont have electricity you cannot get to Google. That means you dont have all the worlds knowledge.”
- Biodiversity Loss Were the first generation of human beings that are going to have to start thinking like Noah. That is, saving the animals two by two.
Well then do I have the revolution for you. This revolution will make the information technology revolution look like the steam engine. Its called the Energy Technology revolution and it is the next great global industry.
The ET revolution will result in abundant, cheap and reliable electricity for everybody. But thats not all. The country that leads the ET revolution will be geopolitically and geostrategically poised to become the worlds next superpower.
Payment isnt easy. After all, this a revolution, not a party, and a revolution involves actual change. But with a number of price signals, government regulations, and standards, we can create incentive for the invention of technologies that will make it possible for people to continue to live on earth indefinitely.
Supplies are limited and this deal is only available for as long as the planet is able to exist under the current conditions. So act fast. Operators are standing by.
Disclaimer: Friedman didnt actually say it this way, but he keeps explaining why we need the government to aggressively intervene in the state of the environment (“If only we could be China for a day”), that I thought it might be more fun to put it in infomercial form.
Friedman discusses the five problems with the state of the world in depth in his new book Hot, Flat, and Crowded. And he makes similar points every time he writes, speaks or breathes, bless his heart.