At the Center for Global Development, Joel Meister wonders whether the recent flare-up over Russian natural-gas supplies might prod European leaders to look more seriously at plans to build large-scale solar thermal plants in North Africa. One recent CGD study, Meister notes, found that "solar thermal production could meet the power needs of 35 million Europeans by 2020, at a total subsidy cost of about $20 billion. The proposed program would bring North African solar thermal to cost parity with European coal and gas power generation, as well as directly averting about 2.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions during the lifetime of the new facilities."

--Bradford Plumer