Executive Chairman of the Board, AutodeskIn the not-so-distant future, when the impact of global warming really hits us, it has all the makings of an economic, political and human nightmare.
What does India need to do on its own behalf? Let's start with what India shouldn't do. At the top of my list is, "Don't look to the developed countries as models for sustainable prosperity." To put it bluntly, we've messed up - big time.
We created societal patterns of consumption that go way past irresponsible. The U.S. is the biggest offender. We waste carbon fuels and water at levels that no one can justify.
In the developed economies, conservation is the biggest, near-term target of opportunity. Turn off the lights, adjust the thermostat, get a smaller car next time. Use energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances. Insulate your attic.
But beyond this, the United States needs to become the global change agent. We need to find the social and political will to do what's right, what's sustainable. To do any less is to turn our backs on more than 200 years of working hard as a country to do the right thing.
At the end of World War II, the Marshall Plan helped repair the human, economic and political damage of the war. It was a big sacrifice - borne by the U.S. alone. By any measure the ROI of the Marshall Plan was huge. It laid the groundwork for the European Union and the stability and prosperity of Japan.
It's time for another Marshall Plan - aimed squarely at solving global warming around the world. The U.S. has the resources, imagination, talent and mindset to do this. It's nuts-and-bolts problem solving time. We can do this.
Let's pull ourselves up by our bootstraps at home - and bring along India and the rest of the developing countries at the same time. In 20 years, we'll look like pragmatic idealists and hardheaded visionaries.
Let's get started now.