The Need to Lead in Clean Tech; December 2008; Scientific American Earth 3.0; by Steve Mirsky; 4 Page(s)
Do the environmental and energy crises driving so many of today¿s headlines actually represent a unique opportunity for revitalizing the global economy? That is the argument that Pulitzer Prize¿winning journalist Thomas L. Friedman advances in his latest book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution¿and How It Can Renew America (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2008). Steve Mirsky, a staff editor and writer for Scientific American and host of its Science Talk podcast, spoke with Friedman about his book in August; what follows is adapted from that conversation, which can be heard in full at www.SciAm.com.
MIRSKY: Why do you call the book "Hot, Flat, and Crowded"? FRIEDMAN: What we¿re seeing in the world today is the convergence of three big, seismic events. The first is obviously global
warming. Second is what I call global flattening, which is my shorthand for the rise of middle classes all across the world in bigger numbers than ever before, from China to Brazil to India to Russia. Those middle classes increasingly have the energy and consumption patterns, demands and aspirations of Americans. Third is global population growth. When I was born in 1953, there were about 2.68 billion people
on the planet; if I live to be 100, according to the U.N. there will be more than nine billion. The population will have more than tripled in my lifetime.