Steam rising from a geothermal power plant in Iceland.Photo: Wikipedia CommonsThe heat in the upper six miles of the Earth's crust contains 50,000 times as much energy as found in all the world's oil and gas reserves combined. Despite this abundance, only 10,700 megawatts of geothermal electricity generating capacity have been harnessed worldwide. Partly because of the dominance of the oil, gas, and coal industries, which have been providing cheap fuel by omitting the costs of climate change and air pollution from fuel prices, relatively little has been invested in developing the Earth's geothermal heat resources. Over the last decade, …
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Lester R. Brown is founder and president of Earth Policy Institute in Washington, D.C.
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