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Is Google Searching For Public Policy Answers?

Google wants to get the US economy running on clean energy. This week Google's nonprofit announced a plan to cut the use of fossil fuels in the US before 2030. For $4.4 trillion "Clean Energy 2030" would help end the use of coal and oil to generate electricity. The plan would allow for the use of natural gas and nuclear power, and also calls for cutting oil use in cars by 40 percent. By 2030, however, the net savings would top $1 trillion.

Google's climate and energy technology manager explained the company's motivation:

We can build whole new industries and create millions of new jobs. We can cut energy costs, both at the gas pump and at home. We can improve our national security. And we can put a big dent in climate change. With strong leadership we could be moving forward on an aggressive but realistic timeline and an approach that offsets costs with real economic gains.

Google asserts that the US will have to invest in renewable energy research, upgrade the electricity grid, impose better mileage standards, and build infrastructure such as charging stations for electric vehicles. Should Americans turn to the private sector for leadership on a public issue?

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