The United Nations recently issued a dire warning that climate change threatens ecological and social disaster. If greenhouse-gas emissions continue at their current rate, the world’s leading scientists expect inundated coastlines, more severe storms and droughts, and intensified poverty.

The report calls for a coordinated response from the world’s nations, at a speed and scale that has “no documented historic precedent.” Since the United States abandoned the Paris Climate Agreement, gloom reigns.

Yet amidst the fear and frustration are largely unrecognized innovators who offer the means to slow climate change, enjoy more flexible transportation, and lower our energy costs.


Larry Page, Google’s co-founder, calls Nikola Tesla a hero because he gave us the electric motor, long-distance power transmission, radio, robots, and remote control — all of which serve as the foundation for our modern economy. According to the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, “Were we to seize and eliminate from our industrial world the results of Mr. Tesla’s work, the wheels of industry would cease to turn, our towns would be dark.”

Although less recognized but perhaps even more significant, Tesla’s visions continued to inspire great minds long after his death. …

Dick Munson’s new book is Tesla: Inventor of the Modern

Nikola Tesla gave us the electric motor, long-distance electricity transmission, radio, robots, and remote control — the very foundations of our modern economy. Perhaps less well known is that he also was a clean-energy pioneer, and he remains an inspiration to today’s solar and battery entrepreneurs, including Elon Musk, who views him as a hero and contributed $1 million to help restore Tesla’s laboratory on Long Island.

Tesla marked his clean-energy leadership with a 1900 article in The Century — then the nation’s largest-circulation periodical. …

FirstEnergy recently proved it’s as bad at literary commentary as it is at running a business. The utility giant wasn’t happy the regional grid experts declared its uneconomic power plants to be unnecessary for grid reliability — so FirstEnergy whined directly to Energy Secretary Rick Perry, confusingly comparing its situation to Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown in the classic comic strip.

FirstEnergy wants someone, anyone — preferably taxpayers or ratepayers — to bail out its troubled power plants. …

Alice finds herself in a land where the powerful beg for more benefits, and she recognizes the Public Utility Commission of Ohio. In this Carrollian wonderland, words have different meanings and debate reigns about who gets to come to tea.

Consider the term “sustainable.” While most people think about not destroying natural resources, Ohio public officials seem to think it means keeping electric utility companies from destroying themselves with bad business decisions.

Dwell on the word “stability.” In the context of electricity prices, most people think it means their rates would not rise. But Buckeye State regulators seem to believe…

Dick Munson

Author of Tesla: Inventor of the Modern.

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