As my high school physics teacher once explained to me, energy comes in all sorts of different forms: heat, light, motion, electricity, and even the "potential" energy in chemical bonds and bowling balls perched on top of a downward sloping ramp. And yet, somehow, all of those different forms of energy were really all the same thing. Energy is energy, no matter what form it takes. Photo: Eddie~S With me so far? Good. So let's do a thought experiment. Picture, for a second, a big ol' SUV -- say, a Lincoln Navigator -- speeding along at over 70 miles per …
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Clark Williams-Derry is research director for the Seattle-based Sightline Institute, a nonprofit sustainability think tank working to promote smart solutions for the Pacific Northwest. He was formerly the webmaster for Grist.