What a New Energy Economy Might Look Like

Obama says his top priority will be creating a new energy economy. Here's how he could do it

Scott Olson / Getty

President-elect Barack Obama holds his first post-election press conference at the Hilton Hotel in Chicago, Illinois on November 7, 2008.

Except for the soft hydraulic whir of expectations being raised, the first week of the Obama transition was a quiet one. Indeed, the big news came from neither Chicago nor Washington but from Detroit and Beijing. In Detroit, General Motors — the stupendously clueless automaker — begged for a bailout lest it go bankrupt, thereby raising the question: If our resources are limited, why should we invest in the failed corporate past rather than in the technologies of the future? The obvious answer was to protect jobs. But how long would those jobs last without a significant overhaul of the company's...

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