Tom Friedman on the "Green Energy" Communication Challenge

Appearing on NPR's Fresh Air to discuss his new book "Hot, Flat, and Crowded," Friedman was asked by host Terry Gross whether or not the term "green energy" might be implicitly off-putting to many Americans. As Gross put it to Friedman "How do you shatter the boring, 'granola' image of the green energy industry?"

Here's what Friedman said (full transcript of interview):

That's what the book is about. The problem is the term "green" was really owned by its opponents. To name something is to own it. The people who named it "green" named it a "liberal, tree-hugging, girlie-man, sissy, unpatriotic, vaguely French!

What I'm out to do in this book is to rename green. Geo-political. Geo-strategic. Geo-economic. Innovative. Competitive. Patriotic. "Green" is the new red, white and blue. Because this is all of those things. To conservatives, I say, "Look, this book is a plan to make America stronger, more energy and nationally secure, more competitive and entrepreneurial, more economically healthy and more respected in the world. (Oh, and by the way, all that stuff Al Gore talks about? We'll take care of that as a by-product!) To liberals and "greens" I say it's a plan to make America greener. (Oh, and by the way, all that stuff Dick Cheney talks about? We'll take care of that as a by-product.)

I'm doing it because I honestly believe this is an issue joining both of those things. It not only does it intellectually, but it must. Because if you don't -- if "green" is owned as a kind of Birkenstock-wearing hippie wine-and-cheese-eating issue and isn't seen as an issue about national security and growth and making American stronger, healthier, more competitive ... then we'll never have scale. Until you have scale on this issue, you really have nothing.



Why the federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Water may be an inevitable result of the process that forms rocky planets

New research identifies an unexpected source for some of earth's water.

Surprising Science
  • A lot of Earth's water is asteroidal in origin, but some of it may come from dissolved solar nebula gas.
  • Our planet hides majority of its water inside: two oceans in the mantle and 4–5 in the core.
  • New reason to suspect that water is abundant throughout the universe.
Keep reading Show less