Why It's Different This Time

Historically, green initiatives come about as responses to energy crises, but are abandoned when oil prices drop and the economy busts. This time around, though, that's less likely to happen.

"Some proponents of renewable energy believe the time is right, regardless of the economy or the price of gas. And they believe that forces are in place - domestic and global pressures - that will lead at last to greater energy independence."

"The wind, solar and geothermal industries 'are growing by leaps and bounds' around the world, says Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute, a nonprofit Washington-based organization dedicated to a sustainable future.

'This transition we are seeing,' Brown says, 'is going to keep going. Sure, it will be slowed by economic situations, including the drop in oil prices. But when we get a new president, there will be a need for jobs. And this is where jobs are going to be - in alternative energy, everywhere from smart grids to wind farms.'

Energy technology, he says, is labor intensive. 'It's going to be what information technology was when it was booming." Brown believes that the U.S. will be able to export the goods and services created by the green boom.

He adds, 'Whereas in the past, alternative energy was viewed as a temporary phenomenon, I don't think most people now see it as temporary.'"

Full Story: Can U.S. Go 'Green' Even When Oil Prices Drop?

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