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How should the United States move forward on the issue of climate change and green technology?  What are the responsibilities, limitations, or opportunities for our government? For businesses? For other organizations and social groups? For individual citizens? Below are some readings to get you started. In addition to discussing these articles, it would be valuable to seek out other resources from the New York Times or other publications.You will find a wealth of news and commentaries assessing the US and China on this topic; you may also want to bring in developments in other societies elsewhere around the world. Princeton economist Paul Krugman offers his view on “Building a Green Economy”: Journalist Ryan Lizza analyzes the current difficulties in Washington in passing legislation to deal with climate change issues: NYT correspondent Keith Bradsher reports on China’s energy development strategy: NYT reporter Todd Woody investigates how Silicon Valley is faring in competition with Chinese firms to develop and market green technologies: Note that the Woody article deals with the technology firm Solyndra before its recent appearance in the news for financial difficulties.You may want to search for more recent news stories on the firm to add to the discussion of national strategies for green tech development.

Expert Answers

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In order to move forward the United States will need to have a comprehensive national green technology and environmental policy. Similar to the renewable energy initiatives currently being pursued by China but in a more coordinated and integrated scale. Policies and initiatives the United States will need to adopt, in order to move forward with green technologies and renewable energy initiatives include: 

  1. Reducing fossil fuel consumption
  2. Building more public transportation infrastructure
  3. Mandating minimum fuel economy standards in motor vehicles
  4. Increasing fuel taxes to discourage over-consumption
  5. Increasing emission standards and regulation
  6. Building more nuclear, solar and wind power plants
  7. Encouraging the use of more energy efficient appliances and technology
  8. Encouraging energy efficiency practices   

Like in China and most European nations, the government should be responsible in crafting legislation and policy to direct most of these efforts or help encourage industry to do so. Unfortunately due to the deep ideological differences present among policy makers regarding the issue of climate change and the role of government, there is a deadlock on any significant national legislation to encourage green energy adoption.

In the United States a significant amount of the push for green technology adoption and climate change initiatives has come from businesses and non-governmental organizations. Businesses have mostly adopted green technologies and practices either out of their own internal initiatives or through encouragement from environmental pressure groups. They have been made to see the benefits and potential cost savings of adopting these practices, as well as the improvements it gives to their brand image.

Individual citizens also have a responsibility in green technology and climate change debate. It is particularly important that individuals adopt green technologies whenever possible and are good environmental stewards. Some the practices and individual can do include:

  1. Driving less and using more public transport
  2. Recycling
  3. Using energy efficient appliances
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