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The big payoff potential of clean energy

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If building roads had never been a priority, would the car have become such an American icon? Though the horse and buggy biz likely never had the clout of today’s energy industry titans, it’s an interesting question to ponder as we stand at the brink of a new energy horizon. According to Google.org’s new analysis, clean energy could be the economy booster we’ve been looking for…but only if we have the political will to make it happen.

Using economic models from McKinsey, here’s what we stand to lose by staying the course:

“Our model found a mere five-year delay (2010-2015) in accelerating technology innovation led to $2.3 trillion to $3.2 trillion in unrealized GDP, an aggregate 1.2-1.4 million net unrealized jobs, and 8-28 more gigatons of potential GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions by 2050,” wrote Google’s green energy czar Bill Weihl and Charles Baron from Google.org’s Clean Energy Team.

The report goes into far more detail on the potential benefits offered by different technologies, but one point is very clear: Will we choose the path of green resistance or not? Will there be stations to juice up that electric car? Will we build an energy grid appropriate for using renewable energy sources? Or will we just stick with the status quo?

If going green means cutting that stack of energy bills at home in half, hand me a banjo and I’ll meet you and Miss Piggy in the swamp. It doesn’t take a rainbow to make that connection.

Full story at CNET.

The payoff of going green.

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