American entrepreneurs, corporate tycoons, and financiers are plotting what they do best—creating new industries that change the world and making billions in the process—a plot that will ultimately save the planet.
The Plot to Save the Planet is an illuminating and inspiring look at the “conspiracy” to make green technology the Silicon Valley of the twenty-first century—the creator of massive numbers of jobs and huge amounts of wealth. Suddenly, the ugly mudslinging between environmentalists and big business has abated, and these two previously opposed forces are now strange bedfellows in a race to head off climate change.
How is this new frontier being shaped? Brian Dumaine is your guide in this intriguing look into the very near future filled with colorful and informative stories about the entrepreneurs, investors, and corporate mavericks who are managing to pull off the feat of combining economic growth and environmental protection to battle global warming. You’ll read about:
• The savvy investors: Why Warren Buffett is investing heavily in wind power; and why John Doerr, the venture capitalist and early backer of Google, is saying that “green tech is bigger than the Internet and could be the biggest economic opportunity of the twenty-first century.”
• The cars of the future: The competitively priced plug-in hybrids that will get 60 miles to the gallon, and the battle being waged by fifteen start-ups competing to capture the electric car market.
• The fuels without fossils: New sources of energy from plants such as prairie grass and algae that could capture a big chunk of the $300 billion U.S. wholesale gasoline market.
• The corporate mavericks: Companies such as Duke Energy and GE who are creating the low-carbon business models of the future, as well as cleaner ways to provide our power needs.
• The energy-miser homes and buildings: The new Bank of America Tower in New York City and the green low- and middle-income homes being constructed by visionaries who were told it couldn’t be done and still be affordable.
• The “thin film” solar energy: How it is making the cost of heating a home comparable to traditional methods without emitting greenhouse gas.
Plenty of obstacles still exist—among them resistance from the rich and powerful owners of the world’s oil supply, developing nations such as China with their reliance on coal, and an American public reluctant to give up their McMansions, SUVs, and extreme air-conditioning. But the battle cry has been sounded. The green overhaul of the utility, energy, construction, shipping, and automobile industries is well on its way and—contrary to prevailing fears—the ultimate solutions will sustain the environment without demanding huge sacrifices to our contemporary comforts and lifestyles.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: The Plot to Save the Planet|
|Release Date: 06-24-2008|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Crown Publishing Group|
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The Plot to Save the Planet
We Can Put Sea Walls Around New York
What are the obstacles to cleaning up our planet? First, we must confront the idea that the American economy is inextricably entwined with the oil industry. Probably the most vivid illustration of this challenge came in the summer of 1979. Gasoline shortages were so severe that American drivers waited for as long as four or five hours to fill their tanks. The turmoil of the Iranian revolution had caused a slowdown in that nation’s oil production and helped push world prices to record highs. In the United States, stations closed on weekends for lack of supply. On the nightly news, viewers watched incidents of name-calling, fistfights, and worse. In Freemansburg, Pennsylvania, the wife of a gas-station owner was struck by a car that had been waiting in line. As the husband held his bleeding wife in his arms, motorists filled up and sped off without paying. Miami police arrested two thieves who drove into a gas station, parked over an underground tank, dropped a hose through a hole in the floorboard of their van, and pumped the precious liquid into a 350-gallon storage tank hidden in the back of their vehicle.1
Despite the high prices and fuel shortages, when a cardigan-clad President Carter asked citizens to turn down their thermostats and drive less, he was accused of fostering “an age of malaise.” Americans were vividly made aware of the risks of having an oil-dependent economy.
After Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter in 1980, oil prices began to fall, eventually reaching precrisis levels. America was once again hooked on oil. One of Reagan’s first symbolic gestures was to tea