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John Doerr on “Greentech”

Written By: - Date published: 2:37 pm, December 17th, 2007 - 21 comments
Categories: climate change - Tags:

Another video from TED:

“I don’t think we’re going to make it,” John Doerr proclaims, in an emotional talk about climate change and investment. Spurred on by his daughter, who demanded he fix the mess the world is heading for, he and his partners at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers embarked on a greentech world tour — surveying the state of the art, from the ethanol revolution in Brazil to Wal-mart’s (!) eco-concept store in Bentonville, Arkansas. KPCB is investing $200 million in green technologies to save the planet and make a profit to boot. But, Doerr fears, it may not be enough.

21 comments on “John Doerr on “Greentech””

  1. Amateur Scrabbler 1

    Good video.

    I’m a little skeptical about the BMW advertising though. Hydrogen powered transportation is widely considered a red herring/green-wash.

    Sure a hydrogen powered car doesn’t give off emissions, but the energy(electricity) to crack the water has to come from somewhere. Not to mention the storage/leaking problem.

    What we really need to look at is, how much energy is needed to run a technologically advanced society? Is the premise of continual growth a valid supposition?

    Now don’t get me wrong. Curbing emissions is important, crucial even. But carbon emissions are more a symptom than the actual disease.

    The ‘disease’ is the wanton wasting of energy in the modern world. Renewables go some way toward sustainability, but they will probably never cover future energy requirements (even when factoring in efficiency gains).

    As Doerr said in the video, China is the real wildcard on emissions (and total energy requirements)… and India too I suppose. Without widespread use of next-generation ‘green technologies’ in rapidly industrialising countries, it’s probably game over for the planet (from both environmental and the economic views).

  2. insider 2

    You could crack hydrocarbons instead of water…

  3. Kimble 3

    “Without widespread use of next-generation ‘green technologies’ in rapidly industrialising countries, it’s probably game over for the planet…”

    So any solution that doesnt include India and China, is what? A complete waste of time? Wishful thinking? A complete hoax?

  4. Pascal's bookie 4

    A first step?

  5. Kimble 5

    And it really doesnt matter how ludicrously small or even in what direction that first step is, does it PB?

    If you dont have India or China you dont have shit, and you lot know it. All this wankery about “a first step” or leading by example is pure bunk.

    Without the emerging economies, by your own admission, even Kyoto mkXXV would be a worthless endeavour.

    When are you lot going to face reality, abandon Kyoto, stop wasting your time extracting empty promises and try something that may actually help?

  6. Pascal's bookie 6

    Any suggestions, Kimble, about what should be done? Points deducted if they start with a small step or apparently diplomacy.

    Should we bury our heads in the sand perhaps? That’s a lot of sand I suppose, but there is no shortage. The third world is practically made of sand. Should be able to get a good price I reckon, and they’ll obviously be keen for the work. It’s a win/win.

    Sorry if that sounds a bit too much like mockery. I tire of hearing about how whatever we are doing is not good enough, for whatever reason, when the critics tend to offer no better plan, or just deny that there is a problem.

    So unless you have a plan that doesn’t involve waiving a magic ‘make everyone agree to do the right thing’ stick, we’re stuck with diplomacy and horse trading. Unless you think a war will work.

    You say that ‘we’ don’t have shit. That may be true, but what have you got?

    I’m no expert on this stuff and I can only rely on the people that are and the diplomats. You’re telling me they are sucking big time, so throw me a bone will ya? Help me out.

    What should be done, and how do we get it done?

  7. Kimble 7

    There is constant bleating from the Left that we are facing climate armageddon, that something must be done NOW. But your refusal to approach the problem in an adult fashion shows that you are just whining for whinings sake.

    That, and your refusal to accept an solution which does not advance your political ideology, is why there is a growing number of skeptics in the world.

    We accept there may be a problem, but a lot good science is being drowned out by your hysterical ranting. Everytime one of you says that the seas are going to rise by 100ft, or that all life in the oceans will die, or that the entire nation of Australia will be forced to live in Tasmania, you create more scepticism.

    Everytime you are caught in a lie, use data that is suspect, or smear those engaging in genuine scientific debate, you convert more to oppose your cause.

  8. Mike Porton 8

    Um Kimble, I just read through your last comment and didn’t see one answer.

  9. The Double Standard 9

    The problem is really being looked at incompletely. Cutting oil useage is important, and eventually necessary as it is by definition a finite resource, but instead of looking to reduce energy consumption we should instead be looking at other energy sources. Since the bulk of energy used on the planet originates from the sun, one way or other, solar power initiatives look to be the best option. I’m not talking about a few solar cells here, but proper space-based collection and transmission. Most of the technology is understood, and only really needs an intensive engineering effort. Nukes can bridge the time gap easily. If the USA had gone all-out on energy independence instead of blowing trillions in Iraq, it would be well on the way there by now.

    After all, if you can conserve your way to prosperity, why isn’t Bangladesh a rich country?

  10. Pascal's bookie 10

    Thanks TDS. I agree with much of that. It’s a shame that more people in power, particularly in the states and more particularly on the right are so in hock to the oil industry.

    Kimble offers nothing but, in his words, whining that people aren’t listening to the sceptics. He shows no awareness that much of what the sceptics say is as bad if not worse than the most dramatic scaremongerings from those he complains about. That is also a shame.

  11. outofbed 11

    All your base
    Any chance of a post about Kiva
    or but a banner up on the site?

    http://kiva.org/

    We let you loan to the working poor

    Kiva lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world. By choosing a business on Kiva.org, you can “sponsor a business” and help the world’s working poor make great strides towards economic independence. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates from the business you’ve sponsored. As loans are repaid, you get your loan money back.

  12. Santi 12

    “But your refusal to approach the problem in an adult fashion shows that you are just whining for whinings sake.”

    I disagree. The left is using this cause as another tool in its fight against capitalism. The goal is to dominate the masses, to interfere with the lives of many citizens as possible and make them dependent on the state for subsistence.

    That explains why climate change (it was global warming) unites an array of disparate factions: socialists, communists, anti-globalists, reactionaries, greenies and luddites of all sorts.

  13. Pascal's bookie 13

    That tinfoil must be causing cranial warming.

  14. Kimble 14

    Your critics dont need to suggest a better solution for the one that you have your hearts set on to be worthless. We don’t have to be right for you to be wrong.

    “Should we bury our heads in the sand perhaps?”

    You already are. If you blindly advocate Kyoto and refuse to accept it is a waste of time without China and India, then YOU are burying YOUR head in the sand.

    Would Kyoto work, best case scenario If the means don’t achieve your desired ends, then they should be abandoned, yes?

    Bleating about “small first steps in the right direction” is just so much time wasting.

    Someone else at The Standard said they considered AGW skeptics to be the moral equivalent of holocaust deniers. Lets ignore for the moment the type of disgusting mind that would make that comparison and of course the idiocy of comparing people who deny something in the past to those who deny something in the future.

    AGW skeptics don’t think anything should be done because nothing needs to be done. (This simplifies their position beyond any reasonable need, but given that the Left does this habitually I simply hope you it helps you understand my argument better.)

    So AGW skeptics aren’t doing anything worthwhile to stop the problem you perceive because they dont perceive it.

    Kyoto advocates aren’t doing anything worthwhile to stop the problem they perceive because… ?

    Is it good enough to just sound as if you care?

    You may cry yourselves to sleep at night saying “something” must be done, but this doesn’t mean that “anything” will do.

    Come up with a solution that is palatable to everyone, including India and China, and you may succeed. Anything less is a waste of everyones time.

  15. Amateur Scrabbler 15

    [Strange. Last reply wouldn’t appear. Even after retrying it]

    “The left is using this cause as another tool in its fight against capitalism. The goal is to dominate the masses, to interfere with the lives of many citizens as possible and make them dependent on the state for subsistence.”

    That is just rubbish. Try and get politics out of your head for one second.

    The ‘faction’ of the ‘greenies’ would ideally have families/groups growing their own food organically, walking or bicycling to a nearby workplace/school, and being electrically self-sufficient with turbines and solar panels. Whatever essential needs couldn’t be covered by this (medical and dental – although dare I say it, probably largely socialised, and some foods), would be bought with wages/salary. Luxuries would of course be bought according to desire and means.

    ‘Dependent on the state for subsistence’. Yeah right! Get a clue buddy.

  16. Amateur Scrabbler 16

    [Weird. Must be a strange browser issue. Apologies if this stuff double or triples]

    Kimble: The developing nations must leapfrog traditional concepts of industrialisation, and go straight onto ultra-energy-efficient technologies and ways of life.

    Energy efficiency must be the primary consideration for most human endeavours from here on in.

    If these ultra-efficient technologies don’t exist currently, then that is a niche that fast-moving/nimble companies should be able to exploit (profit!)…

  17. uk_kiwi 17

    Historically, humans have gone for more dense energy sources- from wood, to coal, to oil, to nuclear. To alleviate shortages we need to be progressing down this road, not backwards to more dispersed forms of energy.

    A massive worldwide nuclear rollout, with identical modular reactors; using thorium or another non-proliferation technology, would be the best solution- there is also the possibility of nuclear fusion down the line, although proven technologies should take precedence.

    Combine this with electrification of transportation and a de-coupling of the coal and oil sector from politics, and carbon emissions could be meaningfully reduced.

    The reasons for opposition to nuclear power are primarily to do with cold war fears of nuclear weapons. this fear needs to be dealt with, it is disproportional to the actual risks and problems with nuclear power stations and is largely to blame for the global shift to coal power.

    Even in NZ a good case could be made- we could utilize the Japanese designs, recently their largest reactor withstood a 7 strength earthquake directly beneath it with only minor damage. This reactor could power Auckland totally carbon free.

  18. Phil 18

    To use a rather ironic phrase, the risks associated with Nuclear Generation have been blown out of proportion.

    Many anti-nuclear advocates fail to decouple “nuclear power” and “nuclear weapons”, despite the fact that the process for building a bomb requires vastly different technologies and infrastructure.

    I think, however, that New Zealand has at it’s disposal a better array of options – wind, hydo, solar etc, and we still need to manage international perceptions of being “clean and green”.

  19. Kimble 19

    “The developing nations must leapfrog traditional concepts of industrialisation…”

    Must? China and India MUST do no such thing. China and India may do what you implore, but they wont do it simply because everyone else in the world will sulk if they dont. You havent provided a solution, you have simply stated the obvious.

    What needs to be done is easy to determine, HOW to do it is the difficult question. One which Kyoto, nor anything else thus far suggested , has any chance of answering.

  20. insider 20

    Did anyone pay any attention to our much self promoted leadership on CC at Bali? How many votes did we swing as a result?

  21. Kimble 21

    insider, the conference in Bali achieved nothing except a promise from all members to meet again in another luxury resort sometime in the future.

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