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Say what? Americans and their God-given right to air conditioning

Give me your poor huddled masses looking for a bargain

John Berger, chairman and CEO of Houston-based Standard Renewable Energy, knows that in selling Americans on energy efficiency and green technology, it doesn't pay to appeal to their guilt.

Instead, you've got to appeal to their pocketbook. They'll buy solar panels and new types of insulation or even biodiesel cars as long as they save money and don't have to curb their lifestyle.

"We believe Americans believe they have a God-given right to have their cake and eat it too," he said.

It will never happen, but that's the kind of quote I'd like to see one day on the side of a public library. It speaks volumes about this nation's state of mind. It ranks up there with something Pete Jackson, CEO of Intraware told me once: "This is America. We're all in sales."

Berger, by the way, comes to alternative energy via Enron. He used to head their east coast power desk.

"You get a consistent laugh out of that," he adds.

This division was not implicated in the scandals and Berger does not wear an ankle bracelet for monitoring by the Feds.