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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Today's Big Idea: Energy of the Future

The Big Idea for Wednesday, June 13, 2012

While the energy of the future remains in its early stages of development, it is the job of economists to figure out the right incentives to bring energy production and consumption closer in line to their real costs.

In other words, when big polluters produce carbon emissions in the production process, they are harming everyone, at no additional cost to their business. Enter the carbon tax. Big Think Chief Economist Daniel Altman today explains the rationale for Australia's carbon tax, which is to be introduced on July 1.

Altman also describes the complications with implementation. After all, the eyes of the world ought to be turned on Australia as we see how this experiment unfolds. 


  1. 1 The Carbon Tax: Is It Time to Follow Australia's Lead?
    Daniel Honan Think Tank
  2. 2 Put a Price on Carbon
    Fatih Birol
  3. 3 Van Jones on Greening the Nation
    Van Jones
  4. 4 Don't Just Cut Carbon Emissions
    Bjørn Lomborg

Today's Big Idea: Energy of...

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