"The Daily Show's" Cleantech Week: T. Boone & Friedman

“The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” seems to be the place to be if you want to pitch your grand energy idea. Author and energy technology evangelist Thomas Friedman was the guest on Tuesday, and last night T. Boone Pickens pitched his Pickens Plan on the show. Stewart opened last night’s show saying, “Thomas Friedman last night talking about the green revolution; T. Boone Pickens on tonight to tell us how we’re going to pay for it. Very exciting, this new energy revolution we’re about to have.”

Octogenarian Texans aren’t regulars on “The Daily Show,” but Pickens seemed to win over the audience, or at least Stewart, with his plan to switch America’s trucks to run on natural gas. Pickens explained: “When people talk about ‘We’re going to go to the electric car,’ I love it. But remember, they said car, not truck. A battery won’t move an 18-wheeler. The only thing that will move an 18-wheeler is foreign oil, diesel and gasoline — and our domestic natural gas. There’s where the fuel needs to go.” It only took Pickens six minutes to have Stewart standing, saluting and shouting at him, “Sir, reporting for duty!” in support of his plan. The Pickens Army likely picked up some new recruits following the Comedy Central appearance.

Absent, though, was much (if any) talk of the wind-power half of his plan. Pickens’ plan to build the world’s largest wind farm in the Texas panhandle has been put on indefinite hold because of the depressed debt market. But the former oilman is unflappable, and he said confidently that oil will be back up to $100 a barrel in a year and that his plan is the solution to our energy crisis. He also encouraged people to buy his new book, “The First Billion Is the Hardest.”

Author Thomas Friedman was equally optimistic on the show Tuesday while pushing his latest book, “Hot, Flat and Crowded,” the culmination of the last two years worth of his columns. Friedman reiterated his belief that energy technology, or ET, will be the world’s next great global industry and a sector that America must dominate. Friedman said we need a Silicon Valley approach, not a Manhattan Project, to jump start this revolution. “What we need is a market signal that will get 100,000 people in 100,000 garages trying 100,000 things, 1,000 of which will be promising, 100 of which will be way cool and two of which will be the next green Google and green Microsoft,” Friedman told Stewart.

Stewart wasn’t as easily convinced by Friedman’s pitch and quipped back, “What you [are] advocating is a green bubble, where a lot people can lose money.”

Let’s hope he’s wrong.