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New York Times Dot Earth Blog

Earthly Advice

Nancy takes up Al Gore's call for investing in 21st century technologies. Read Nancy's Green Auto Aid comment in response to Andy Revkin's post.

Al Gore was right to call for "an immediate and large strategic investment to put people to work replacing 19th century energy technologies... with 21st century technologies".

Today, President-elect Obama and Congress have a chance to start down this 21st century path as they consider financial aid for the US auto industry. If the industry gets public aid (and this is a big if), it should be contingent on three things. First it must accept that California can implement its own CAFE standards and drop objections to any state that adopts California standards. Second, the industry must accept regulation of CO2 emissions for all classes of on-road vehicles. Finally, the auto industry should adopt agreed-to annual sales targets for both ultra fuel efficient and hybrid fuel vehicles.

The terms for repaying federal aid should be contingent upon meeting these targets, with penalty payments for missing them. Success should matter.