As we finally put 2020 into hindsight, the road ahead is uncertain. On the one hand, stock markets continue to thrive, and the economy feels poised to come roaring back, fueled by a population vaccinated and ready to work and play with others again. On the other hand, many worry which bull markets might stumble, and which bubbles might burst.
Beyond the legitimate handwringing, there’s one economy that will provide steady, consistent opportunities and growth in the coming decade: The Decarbonization Economy. Call this ClimateTech, Cleantech 2.0, or something new, but know this about the transition to an economy free of carbon emissions: it’s big, it’s getting bigger, and it won’t be going away. This new economy is different. We’re not shoehorning sustainability into old systems. We’re redesigning the economy. The scale of this transformation is on par with the digitization economy before it.
Andrew, you say, give me a break. We’ve seen this movie before — in fact, I think you were in this movie. The Cleantech 1.0 “revolution” turned out to be a dud. The promises were massive, and the results were not. Aren’t you just setting us up to repeat history? Can’t we learn from the past?
We can learn from the past — and we are soon to learn that this time is different. As with many transformations, the visions laid out over a decade ago were powerful, but not ready to scale. Renewable generation was too expensive, batteries weren’t ready to power our vehicles, and much of the world had not felt the sting of climate change. We did the work, but it certainly took longer than we all wanted.