Hot, Flat and Crowded – Friedman’s new book

Hot, Flat and Crowded

After the success of "The World is Flat", Friedman turns to the negative effects of the globalization; the global warming and its the chilling consequences in his new book "Hot, Flat and Crowded - Why We Need a Green Revolution--And How It Can Renew America". He makes an argument that America needs a big problem to re-motivate itself. It was a dominant force in the industrial and information era. But as the world gets hotter -- due to greenhouse emissions by increasing spread of the technology, flatter -- due to IT and communications revolution and crowded -- due to population growth, America needs to provide leadership in providing sustainable solutions to the world.

The book gives a good insight into the global warming. Though I have been aware of the term, it was eye-opening because of the different examples and quotes. Friedman proposes many ideas, some of which are intriguing. e.g. establish a floor price of $5 per gallon on gasoline for next N years. This will motivate the alternative energy industries to accelerate their development of their technologies. (He also argues the government will get benefited (because of the tariff collected), but that point is debatable, because the oil-producing nations will immediately bump their prices up to extract the profits). He also dreams up some scenarios of energy technology companies coming up with energy dashboards to help you monitor and optimize your energy usage. There are some examples of how going green helps the US military gain an upper hand. (It seems a lot of money is spent by the military in air-conditioning! By building unconventional and greener bases, they reduce or eliminate the demand for transporting gasoline to the bases, thus saving money and the lives of people who transport the gasoline!)

Overall, I liked this book a lot. It surely increased my awareness to the global warming and taught me to look at all perspectives (including the negative externalities) of different alternatives.

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