Uncle Sam Needs to Solve the Energy Crisis

Consumers can buy only so many fluorescent bulbs. To solve the global energy crisis, Uncle Sam needs to step in

James Irwin / NASA / Michael Light

Presidential priorities helped get an electric vehicle on the moon.

The key to heading off devastating climate change--and to sidestepping out-of-sight oil prices along the way--is to improve technology. We need good alternatives to fossil fuels, not the ersatz variety in which we convert corn to ethanol and then face soaring food prices. We need to harness vast amounts of solar power and start storing the carbon dioxide emitted by coal-fired power plants underground. We need green buildings that demand less energy for heating and cooling, and automobiles that get vastly more miles per gallon.

These are all achievable goals. The technologies are within reach. Yet to take them from the...

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