Friday, May 30, 2008

Liveblogging at API/Newsweek Energy Series (Part III)

Yesterday was a whirlwind and I'm traveling back to Minnesota most of the day today, but I'll try to get up some posts between my flights.

Early on in the discussion on energy, the moderator, David Jefferson of Newsweek, profiled himself: He uses efficient compact fluorescent lightbulbs, but not consistently. He cares about polar bears, but cranks the air conditioner. He telecommutes, but he does it so he can work from home in sweatpants, not because he saves gas from not driving his car.

In a lot of ways, he’s just like the rest of us.

This broad but shallow care for the earth/energy/ begs the question: Instead of asking ourselves, “How can we influence consumers to make smarter energy choices?" instead of “How do we force consumers to make smarter energy choices?”

Most of the panelists agreed that people are concerned about green but don’t want to change radically. To be green has to be easy. Trae Vallasso of the venture capitalist firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers said that it shouldn’t be about changing behavior, but about finding better business opportunities. Money in the pocket – or money taken out of the pocket – will influence consumers' behavior.

That's why efficiency may be the best route to curbing energy use; not a silver bullet of course, but it is the cheapest, fastest, most efficient way to cut our energy use. It's a major investment area for Kliener Perkins, Chevron is constantly looking for new ways to make operations more efficient, and Californians live the most energy efficiently of anyone in the nation. We know it works, it saves money, emissions and time, and it's being done right now. As Paul Siegele of Chevron agreed: "The cheapest barrel of oil is the one you don’t use."

Photo courtesy of API

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, this is a touch nut to crack. I have a home energy auditing business, and have had memberships and leadership positions in many local environmental organizations such as nature societies, Sierra Club, Audubon - that kind of thing. Not one of my clients has ever been from one of these groups. I don't dwell on it, but there does seem to be a real disconnect (as mentioned in your blog) between what we profess and what we do about it.