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Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution - and How It Can Renew America, Release 2.0 Paperback – November 24, 2009
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“Friedman produces cogent analyses of the most important developments of our time. . . . A convincing case for the green revolution required to rescue us from an unsustainable course.” ―USA Today
“Friedman has made himself a major interpreter of the confusing world we inhabit. . . . He gets the big issues right.” ―The Washington Post Book World
“A compelling manifesto that deserves a wide reading, especially by members of Congress.” ―The Boston Globe
“If Friedman's profile and verve take his message where it needs to be heard, into the boardrooms of America and beyond, that can only be good--for all our sakes.” ―The New York Times Book Review
“Tom Friedman has done it again. . . . He has lit upon what he might describe as another Big Idea, and, given his track record as a zeitgeist thermometer, we should all pay attention. . . . He has a gift for weaving anecdotes and examples from around the world into his broader tapestry.” ―Financial Times
“Hot, Flat, and Crowded may make it official, for many, that ecology-mindedness is the character of our times. . . . I hope everyone reads it.” ―The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Required reading” ―Business Week
“New York Times columnist and globalization exponent Thomas Friedman pleads for Americans to wake up to the perils and opportunities of an emerging resource-strapped world. The author comes across as a blend of Will Rogers, Jack Welch and Norman Vincent Peale--a plain-spoken citizen outraged at the bullheadedness of U.S. politicians, yet optimistic about the power of ingenuity and finely crafted policy to avert disaster.” ―Newsweek
About the Author
THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize three times for his work with The New York Times, where he serves as the foreign affairs columnist. He is the author of From Beirut to Jerusalem (1989), The Lexus and the Olive Tree (1999), Longitudes and Attitudes (2002), and The World is Flat (2005). He lives in Bethesda, Maryland.
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Having set the scene, Friedman then launches into a solution which involves a greening of the world. And this should occur not just in the USA and other industrialised countries but must reach into China and the newly developing world. Again, hard to argue here. However, I feel that the means that he proposes this greening is somewhat wishy washy. Greening will require significant market reforms. The world will need a carbon tax at least; more likely, there will be a need to develop a full carbon trading system. But herein lies the problem. The US has already rejected "cap and trade". Not a great start. Here in Australia where this reviewer resides, there is a fierce debate at present as to the need for any intervention at all. The government seems to be losing popularity by the day as it pushes a market based agenda. This is a shame. Hard choices need to be made.
In spite of my reservations, I enjoyed Friedman's book. He is a fine journalist at the top of his craft. His influence is significant and he has a loyal fan base. I only wish that he could be more hard headed. We are facing a serious challenge at the global level. This will require severe medicine. Friedman could have produced a better book by recognising this fact with greater determination.
Early chapters cover the relationship between the price of oil and relative freedoms inside countries like Iran and Russia, and Friedman makes some remarkable points such as "$70-a-barrel oil followed by $10-a-barrel oil killed the Soviet Union." The author's petropolitical analysis is worthy of a Nobel in economics, and he then moves on to discuss ways the U.S. can move forward on a new Green path, and how our current, painless "green party" comes up well short of being a Green Revolution.
Biologist E.O. Wilson has been writing about biodiversity for decades, but Friedman's new synthesis will bring these perspectives to a much wider audience. Mention of a "Sixth Extinction" currently being felt around the planet brings to mind Richard Leakey's 1995 book by the same name. Friedman includes quotes from Jared Diamond ("Collapse" "The Third Chimpanzee") and a host of other experts to bolster his case, and he then revisits China to measure their Green progress. Freidman's point is that if we don't get on it soon, China will outgreen the U.S. with its authoritarian advantage. Beijing has eliminated the two-stroke motor scooter and replaced it with millions of electric scooters and bicycles, and each night citizens carry their batteries inside to charge. Plastic supermarket bags have been banned, yes in one day, potentially 1.3 billion people stopped using plastic bags at the supermarket checkout.
"Hot, Flat, and Crowded" is Mr. Friedman's most important work to date, the summation of all of his previous thinking that has led to a grand insight about an American renewal fueled by Green. "Code Green" should be a cabinet-level department in the new administration and extraordinary powers handed out to meet an extraordinary financial and climatological crisis, and opportunity.
It's too bad Friedman isn't a candidate, but it's unlikely he'd get elected; he's too knowledgeable and logical.