Dec 18, 2008

Greentech and cleantech: fad or future?

Posted by: Marian Salzman In: environment| technology| the economy

Many expect the economic crisis to push environmental issues way down the priority list of governments, corporations and consumers. Not surprising when cash is in doubt–paying next month’s bills feels like a much more urgent problem than dealing with peak oil or climate change. And with oil and gas prices depressed by the economic downturn, alternative energy projects are suddenly looking very expensive–even energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens has put his wind farm plans on hold.

So is it an either-or choice between economic growth or environmental salvation–a tussle between real-world pragmatists and tree-hugging idealists? President-elect Obama doesn’t see it that way. He’s aiming to create a whole new driver of economic growth and jobs by building a “clean energy future.” And high-profile venture capitalists such as Vinod Khosla and entrepreneurs are seeing cleantech and greentech as “the next ICT.”

The difference is that much of ICT growth (personal computers) was driven by consumers wanting to play games, write documents, swap e-mails and access interesting content. In contrast, the adoption of low-carbon technologies will be in the hands of legislators who frame the rules, decide on the incentives and make policy. If only some techies could invent must-have personal cleantech gadgets.

  • People want to consume gadgets. It has little to do with "need."

    In order for society to continue to function and for economies to grow in some tangible way, renewable fuels and sustainable economic developments must be innovated, otherwise limited resources shall eventually be used up and the pollution threshold will be crossed.
  • andrew
    I like your stuff:) Being informed of the cost advantage of actually going green to the extent society needs to is important for you to know so you can push this for us all. has many featured speakers on the subject and i think you'll likke it.ttyl
  • Stuart Harris
    Googling Khosla I came up with an interesting interview (see link at the bottom). Among other things he says "it's amazing how little research goes on in energy or efficiency. Nobody has reinvented the air conditioner in 50 years - or the refrigerator... improvements have been marginal. It's time for massive change."

    Despite economic meltdown - or maybe because of it - I reckon we could be on the verge of amazing times driven by the growth of Future-Critical Technologies.
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