There will be financial strain, of course—but the question should not be can we manage it, but rather how we manage it and what policies and technologies we will need to do so. There is always room for disagreement, of course, and many individuals and industries will continue to resist this change. Currently, though, clean energy is our best (and perhaps only) strategy for working our way back to global financial solvency. Reporters should absolutely seek out those who disagree with that strategy, but they cannot keep regurgitating the simplistic free-market argument that it will leave the economy in tatters. It already is, and reporters must ask their sources, if not this plan, then what? Doing nothing is no longer an option.

Obama said it perfectly: “These are extraordinary times, and it calls for swift and extraordinary action. At a time of such great challenge for America, no single issue is as fundamental to our future as energy.”

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Curtis Brainard is the editor of The Observatory, CJR's online critique of science and environment reporting. Follow him on Twitter @cbrainard.