But Vegas has nothing on Dubai. The most populous city in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is another rapidly growing, water- and oil-consuming city in a desert, one that has taken the pink-Cadillac, flashy Vegas aspiration to a new extreme that Elvis couldn’t possibly imagine. Dubai may be the most environmentally unsustainable place on earth, certainly among the most conspicuously extravagant, and reportedly with the world’s highest per-capita rate of natural resource consumption. But it is definitely not boring. I’m actually a little fascinated by it.
Thomas L. Friedman:
We are, in fact, the wimps of the world. We are, in fact, so wimpy our politicians are afraid to even talk about how wimpy we are.
France today generates nearly 80 percent of its electricity from nuclear power plants, and it has managed to deal with all the radioactive waste issues without any problems or panics. And us? We get about 20 percent and have not been able or willing to build one new nuclear plant since the Three Mile Island accident in 1979, even though that accident led to no deaths or injuries to plant workers or neighbors.
In 1973, Denmark got all its oil from the Middle East. Today? Zero. Why? Because Denmark got tough. It imposed on itself a carbon tax, a roughly $5-a-gallon gasoline tax, made massive investments in energy efficiency and in systems to generate energy from waste, along with a discovery of North Sea oil (about 40 percent of its needs).