Betting on Cleantech


The venture capital business typically alternates between cycles of greed and fear, but will be absent in the emerging clean and green technology sector as these normally opposing emotional forces become synchronized for long periods.

As the scientific evidence of global warming and its consequences become clearer, we will become increasingly fearful of overheating the planet with greenhouse gases and the other effluvia of our industrial civilization. This fear and deepening awareness will spur governments around the globe to take measures to mitigate global warming, which will create even more opportunities in the clean technology arena than we are presently experiencing in this first wave of investment. 

As my prior column suggested, this first wave will likely match the pattern of all disruptive technologies with overspending and enthusiasm followed by a crash. The crash should be short-lived as world business and government leaders become increasingly united behind the drive to stop global warming and ultimately create a sustainable industrial civilization which utilizes, eliminates and recycles its waste intelligently.

During 2007, this column will explore the themes of clean technology, sustainability and the environment. The venture capital community can be at the vanguard of change in these areas and play a critical role in ensuring that we have a planet to pass to our progeny. Among the biggest problems facing the human world are environmental degradation/climate change and organized religions’ general intolerance toward other religions. We can’t do much about the latter problem, but we can make a huge impact on the former while making a good living in the process. More to follow….