Al Gore's Five-Point Plan for Energy Independence

This weekend in The New York Times climate change Cassandra and Nobel Prize-winner Al Gore laid out five steps for helping the U.S. gain its energy independence in the Age of Obama. It's a goal, he notes, that's been on the table since the Nixon administration; since the early 1970s, however, the country's dependence on foreign oil has doubled from one-third of its use to two-thirds.If you're a regular reader of Ben Jervey's "New Ideal" series, you are probably familiar with a lot of these ideas (which stress a deep connection between our economy, our energy, and our environment). In broad terms, they are: building solar energy plants in our deserts, longitudinal wind farms through the middle of the country, and geothermal "hot spots" wherever possible; designing a smart-grid to take in and more effectively route electricity; incentivizing the Big Three automakers (and start-ups) to develop plug-in hybrid cars; retrofitting buildings to make them more energy efficient; and heading an effort to replace the Kyoto treaty with a more stringent document that calls for caps on worldwide carbon emissions.The group he hopes will play a big role in realizing these goals? The nation's youth, which came out in droves to support the president-elect.(Photo © World Economic Forum/Severin Nowacki)