Saturday, May 31, 2008

Liveblogging at API/Newsweek Energy Series (Part IX)

After a lot of thinking about everyone's opinions, experiences, optimism and pessimism, I've concluded a few things so far.

  • Everyone on the panel seemed to be on the same page that there’s an energy problem. Whether your biggest concern is global warming, energy security, oil prices or jobs, we understand that we’re going to have to change the way we make and use energy.
  • You can't argue with efficiency: It’s the cheapest, fastest, most cost-effective way to cut global warming emissions. Whether you’re California or Chevron or a venture capitalist, the focus on energy efficiency is a win-win for businesses, the consumer and the planet.
  • There's got to be some sort of market structure for the clean energy shift to work. That may be a price on carbon, higher costs for less efficient vehicles or tools, or a cap-and-trade system, for example.
  • We start to diverge when we get further down into the details. What does this market structure look like? Do we wait to take action only when China and India are on board, like Chevron would prefer? Or do we move ahead, like California already has? I still side with the latter. I fear immobilization and I fear perfect being the enemy of good in many cases (and not just because of what Chevron said, but I see this in the green movement as well). There are going to winners and losers with any market shift and with any public policy. And while I think we’ve got to move forward, we can’t ignore or dismiss the oil companies, coal companies, auto companies and utilities with which an open dialogue is so important and with which negotiations or compromises will occur. And if we decide not to move forward – if, like David Victor said, “we’re committed” to warming – we need to be ready to adapt.
Many thanks to API for this opportunity and for participating in the dialogue. Video and more posts on the event next week.

1 comment:

David Rabenau said...

More than just clean energy, I think it's important to have some sort of market structure to support energy efficiency. Maybe the cost of energy will do it, but that's not working that well now.