What does the Copenhagen Communique mean to an entrepreneur? Am I being too blunt to suggest the answer is “nothing?”
Vinod Khosla has the correct vision for how change will take place. He is billionaire venture capitalist investing in technologies that hold the potential to be price competitive against carbon-centric technologies. Kholsa’s vision is to have bio-fuels that are price competitive against $30 per barrel oil! And it isn’t just visionary entrepreneurs like Kholsa who are financing bio-fuel’s commercial development. ExxonMobil has announced a $600 million investment into algae based biofuel technology and BP is investing $500 million into biofuels in alliance with the University of California-Berkeley. Chevron, Khosla Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners recently announced putting $25M into LS9, a bio-diesel company projecting 2011 deliveries at $40/barrel oil equivalent.
The creation of competitively priced, sustainable goods and services by our entrepreneurs will restore our jobs, environment and economy. It would be great if governments could accelerate this adoption process by including it in the price at the pump, meter and cash register the “externality costs” tied to emissions and waste. Taxing cigarettes has contributed to reducing the number of smokers with measurable gains in reduced incidences of cancer. This same path for taxing emissions and waste to encourage positive behavior is available but less likely because climate change and energy independence just doesn’t have as powerful a direct link as having a loved one die a painful death tied to their smoking addiction.
Not that it's directly related to the title of his post, but I like the part of the author's quote that I boldfaced.
I don't agree with his premise that it means "nothing", though. The simple fact that the COP climate deal negotiation process remains unsettled means something -- in this case that businesses haven't yet gotten the certainty that they desire. That is, businesses need policy certainty to know how to most effectively -- and profitably -- unleash the tsunami of clean technology investment money that is ready to pounce once the rules of the game have been set.
Hopefully we get this certainty via new climate change and clean energy policy agreements that come out of both the U.S. Senate and Mexico City in 2010. After Copenhagen, it seems that The People's movement is going to have to continue to rise up until it generates the Civil Rights movement-level inspiration that has, historically, helped society achieve its biggest solutions...