Jul 18 2010
As a bit of a follow-up to the article about climate change skeptics I published a few days ago on this blog. As far as I’m concerned, the weird vitriol that resulted in the comments section pretty much proves the point that climate change skeptics are thick-headed reactionaries.
One of the most far-out conspiracy theories mentioned by my critics was that the green revolution was somehow the result of a Soviet plot to undermine the West through carbon taxes or cap and trade programs.
The funny thing is that the very evening I posted that article, I attended a business networking event in downtown Vancouver with representatives from clean tech companies.
The people I met there were the very definition of entrepreneurial — not one Russian accented apparatchik in sight. Though the green technology that they offered was cutting edge, many of them were already profitable or in the process of winning contracts worth millions of dollars (and if some of these technologies start getting exported, as is the plan, we’ll be looking at billions). These firms employ skilled professionals and executives who are earning big bucks and doing award-winning work.
This business reality is diametrically at odds with the view of climate change skeptics.
They still look at the green movement as something that is going to be a net drain on our economy. It’s weird, because most of them are rational enough to recognize the value of what these companies are offering.
Some would certainly see the theoretical appeal of an electric vehicle with excellent range that you never have to fill up. They would see that a company with technology that can lower energy use and utility costs by 15 to 20 per cent is good, too. Hell, they can see the value of a longer-lasting lightbulb.
The skeptics see these, but they cannot see the big picture. Our country has hemorrhaged good-paying manufacturing jobs. China, India and other rapid-growth countries are increasingly eating our lunch. Now, here we are at the start of a technological revolution that can help us start actually building industries again and selling stuff besides oil, lumber and copper.
And what do the skeptics say? “Thanks, but no thanks. We’ll stick to the way we’re already doing things. Things are going just swimmingly.”
Some theorize that climate change skeptics could be persuaded about the need to make significant changes to the way we work and live, if only they would listen to the vast preponderance of scientific studies on the issue. I don’t think so.
I think the main problem is that the skeptics are not, by and large, entrepreneurial. They know little to nothing of running a business. And they wouldn’t see an opportunity if it was delivered to them on the back of a polar bear.