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I presume that trees are a relatively efficient converter of solar energy to carbohydrates via photosynthesis. This would seem to imply that an economy based on renewable solar energy is not possible. Just the steel industry will be difficult to sustain from solar sources. Fossil fuels are required.

You presume wrong.

I've seen the stat some time ago that enough solar energy fell on Los Angeles in one day to power all energy needs in the US for 1 year. The problem is price and efficiency of solar energy collectors, and the intermittant nature of solar supply.

Another interesting factoid: North Dakota alone possesses enough exploitable wind power to match yearly US electrical power consumption. The problem there is transmission, capital investment, and the intermittant nature of wind supply.

Solar energy supply is virtually limitless, collecting and storing it are expensive at this time. But, imagine if we'd just spent $200 billion on pumping up US renewable energy collection, transmission, and storage infrastructure in the US, instead of on the war in Iraq.

Instead of stirring up foreign hatred of the US and breeding terrorists in an effort to secure access to oil, we could have taken immense steps towards energy independance.

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