Did you see the CBS Evening News piece last night on Green Technology and China? It is worth watching. To me this story represents the crossroads point of environmental change, technology, economy and politics. Actually, it is the following formula: technology + economics + politics + consumer drive = environmental change.
Why I think the story is so interesting is in front of our very eyes is the real opportunity being lost. I have always felt that the green movement will not gain true market momentum until it effects the inflow and outflow of cash into US consumers pockets. America is clearly in an economic funk and instead of investing ahead of the curve (with things like tangible tax breaks to green tech companies that are willing to manufacture in the US - thus replacing things like the crumbling auto industry), our limited tax dollars have gone to bailouts. Treating the symptom and not the cure.
The result is the green technology and investment in this area is taking place in China. Hey on the surface this is good because there will be very cheap solar panels in the future, but the biggest economic opportunity....the next in line after the Agricultural Revolution, Industrial Revolution, Assembly Line Revolution, PC Revolution, Dot Com Revolution (each of which America has controlled), is the Green Revolution...and this one China will own.
The result, American economy sitting on the sidelines with no "next economic revolution." Our role will be clearly that of consumer. The result is all the money, and with it economic and political power, will flow to China (more than it is now). The result of that is consumers without the disposable income to shift and also China with suspect political, ethical and environmental values at its core, driving the bus.
Anyway, that got me ranting....its worth a watch if you can find it.
- Potter Polk to Peter Glatzer via email
Watch the CBS News piece Where America Stands: Green Energy.