Thomas L. Friedman's No. 1 bestseller The World Is Flat has helped millions of readers to see the world, and globalization, in a new way. With his latest book, Friedman brings a fresh and provocative outlook to another pressing issue: the interlinked crises of destabilizing climate change and rising competition for energy--both of which could poison our world if we do not act quickly and collectively. His argument speaks to the 2008 presidential election--and to all of us who are concerned about the state of America and its role in the global future.
"Green is the new red, white, and blue," Friedman declares, and proposes that an ambitious national strategy--which he calls geo-greenism--is not only what we need to save the planet from overheating, it is what we need to make America healthier, richer, more innovative, more productive, and more secure in the coming E.C.E.--the Energy-Climate Era. Green-oriented practices and technologies, established at scale everywhere from Washington to Wal-Mart, are both the only way to mitigate climate change and the best way for America to "get its groove back"--to "reknit America at home, reconnect America abroad, retool America for the new century, and restore America to its natural place in the global order."
As in The World Is Flat and his previous bestseller The Lexus and the Olive Tree, he explains the future we are facing through an illuminating account of recent events. He explains how 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the flattening of the world by the Internet, which has brought three billion new consumers onto the world stage, have combined to bring the climate and energy issues to main street. But they have not really gone down main street yet. Indeed, it is Friedman's view that we are not really having the green revolution that the press keeps touting, or, if we are, "it is the only revolution in history," he says, "where no one got hurt." No, to the contrary, argues Friedman, we're actually having a "green party." We have not even begun to be serious yet about the speed and scale of change that is required.
With all that in mind, Friedman lays out his argument that if we are going to avoid the worst disruptions looming before us as we enter the Energy-Climate Era, we are going to need several disruptive breakthroughs in the clean-technology sphere--disruptive in the transformational sense. He explores what enabled the disruptive breakthroughs that created the IT (Information Technology) revolution that flattened the world in information terms and then shows how a similar set of disruptive breakthroughs could spark the ET--Energy Technology--revolution. Time and again, though, Friedman shows why it is both necessary and desirous for America to lead this revolution--with the first green president, a green New Deal, and spurred by the Greenest Generation--and why meeting the green challenge of the twenty-first century could transform America every bit as meeting the Red challenge, that of Communism, did in the twentieth century.
Hot, Flat, and Crowded is classic Thomas L. Friedman--fearless, incisive, forward-looking, and rich in surprising common sense about the world we live in today.