Thomas Friedman’s Green Sheen

070423_reviewfriedman_2
Hollywood may be awash in environmentally minded activism and endeavors, but with such efforts come sober realities.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, on tour for his new book “Hot, Flat and Crowded,” spoke to an industry-heavy crowd at the Hotel Bel-Air this morning, telling them that the shift to a green economy will take much more than good intentions.

He says, “What we are trying to do is the equivalent of trying to launch the NASA space program to put a man on the moon when Southwest Airlines already flies to the moon. Do you think we ever would have gotten funding for NASA, the Apollo moonshot, if Southwest Airlines already flew to the moon and gave away free peanuts? I don’t think so. So that is government’s one role: Shape the market, and then get out of the way. Because then what you will see is 100,000 innovators in 100,000 garages trying 100,000 [environmental technology] things, a thousand of which will be promising, a 100 of which will be way cool and two of which will be the next green Google and green Microsoft.”

Friedman’s appearance was sponsored by the Foreign Policy Roundtable, which holds regular salons on international affairs. ICM’s Chris Silbermann was host, with political consultant Donna Bojarsky as one of the chief organizers.

“It is all about price, what will happen if you dont have a price signal?” says Friedman, to a crowd that included Jeff Berg, Taylor Hackford, Helen Mirren, Willow Bay, Peter Roth, Russell Goldsmith, Damon Lindelof and Jon Glickman.

“You will get people to do things. You will get a venture capitalist to try that, but you wont get it at scale. And this is a scale project, and if you don’t have scale, you have a hobby.”

He is most skeptical of the efforts of Detroit automakers, noting that they’ve done little innovation even when the writing has been on the wall for decades. He chides Michigan’s congressional and Senate delegations as well, saying that they “deserve to be the pallbearers when they bury Detroit.”

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 1

Leave a Reply

1 Comment

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. SOLOMON AZAR says:

    The global collapse of world economies and or global war with Russia over energy is occuring right before our eyes-when will you wake to what is the foundation of any civilized industrialized country- ENERGY- I HAVE SOLVED IT- pressure Princeton university to replicate my experiment to verify- over 17 months i still wait- Lets see how long it takes to uncover
    —my name is Solomon Sami Azar-born on the 13th January-1965. I have combined the century old ideas of Tesla and Einstein to produce safe nuclear fusion of heavy water in order to end the energy crisis- When the scientific community has found this and understands -the energy crisis will be over along with talks of greenhouse gases-I have been guided to this discovery by the heavens- by a force in this universe we are all connected to in spirit and pray to in the name of god- I have put together many signs and connections to form the big picture- I am a messenger of GOD—I have been sent by heaven to declare An Age of Unity has begun- world war 2 was Armageddon signified by two atomic bombs-An age of unity has begun—-http://noblefuse.com/

More Biz News from Variety

Loading