A plan to measure carbon emissions that even a dummy could run

As the leaders of the world prepare for the critical Copenhagen climate and environment summit in December, Michael Woelk has a message he'd like them to hear. You can't fix what you can't measure. And it won't cost that much to measure carbon emissions down to the factory smokestack. For the entire U.S., Woelk believes a carbon measurement network can be built for $300 million in less than five years. To build a global system? Less than $5 billion.

Considering that the Administration's "Cash for Clunkers" program cost over $1 billion and will have very little impact on U.S. energy consumption or carbon emissions, Woelk's proposal would seem to be one that's nearly impossible to refuse. "It's a tiny amount of money, ridiculously small," says Woelk.