The New York Times today had an article about Portugal's conversion to green energy. About 45% of the country's electricity comes from renewable sources, including large hydro. Several years ago, a new government came into power with a large majority and simply decided to convert, since the country was importing the fossil fuel for electricity generation. Contrast that with the totally abysmal performance in this country since the 2008 election, and you can see the advantages of parliamentary government. The new system required a new kind of grid in which dispatchers act kind of like air traffic controllers, directing power from areas where the wind is blowing strongly to areas where the power is needed. The number of grid dispatchers - a well paying job - approximately doubled.
The Chinese, too, seem to be pushing strongly on policy to improve the carbon efficiency of their economy. Will it take the US another 20 years to finally wake up?