It has to be fairly apparent that the end of this recession is going to usher in a new age for energy use. Taxes on emissions and carbon footprints are being discussed with more frequency. Global warming may or may not be a giant hoax to create a more controlled economy, but it does appear it will have a major impact on our use of energy in our industries. You will have to deal with the consequences. What are going to be the consequences of the current financial meltdown?

The changes that are coming will go to the heart of how we run and manage our businesses. “A paradigm is a set of rules and regulations that 1) defines boundaries and 2) tells you what to do to be successful within those boundaries.”

The old paradigm is that the U.S. is a major supplier of heavy-consumer and industrial products and basic materials. The majority of automobiles are made in Detroit and run on cheap gasoline. Coal powers 50% of U.S. electrical energy. The only atmospheric pollutants that manufacturers have to be concerned about are NOx and SO2. And maybe even that the U.S. is the land of free enterprise and entrepreneurial spirit.

The new paradigm is likely to be that automobiles will only be assembled in the U.S., the world economy appears to be heading for a longer-term depression, the mighty U.S. dollar may lose its place as the world standard, we are most likely headed for a wave of severe inflation as a result of the massive debt being run up by the U.S. government, and cap-and-trade emission taxes could make it too expensive to do any heavy manufacturing in the U.S.

As a senior manager, how are you preparing your company for this new era? Is your sales structure set up to move into a worldwide distribution if you sell to heavy industry? How does the auto industry fit into your long-range plans? Have you planned on how to reduce your CO2 emissions, or are you prepared to move some of your manufacturing to areas where CO2 emissions are less restricted? Do you have products that will help reduce CO2 emissions?

These are only some of the issues you must be preparing to address in the next two to three years.