Environmentalist and venture partner Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and Wal van Lierop, president and CEO of Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital Canada in debate at GLOBE 2014. Photo credit: Jon Pesochin.
Clean Capitalism: A Revolution or an Evolution in Energy Tech?
Are people tip-toeing around necessary changes for a sustainable future?
It wasn’t whether alternative energy technologies need to be implemented that caught the attention of many at GLOBE 2014 — North America’s largest business sustainability summit. It was when and how.
A debate on the speed and focus of the transition, between environmentalist and venture partner Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and Wal van Lierop, president and CEO of Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital Canada, created headlines and sparked ideas that still have people talking.
“It’s inspiring to see someone speaking so eloquently and truthfully about environmental issues in the face of being mocked or publicly scolded when talking about oil and gas,” says renewables and clean technology company president David Isaac, referring to the rapid change perspective articulated by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
“People are not really analyzing the markets and industry. They’re going under the assumption that our economy is so strong because of oil and gas, and they don’t want to seem reckless in their talk about more dramatic shifts and more significant changes — which are very possible,” says David, president of W Dusk Group.
Kennedy spoke about the need to move into renewable energy and clean energy sources like solar and wind as opposed to building more pipelines.
“Mr. Kennedy feels things will be very quick — more of a revolution of green energy and more sustainable energy,” explains Chad Fletcher, Urban Systems principal and consulting engineer.
“Mr. Lierop agrees there will be change, but more of an evolutionary change. He was definitely more of an advocate for investing in reducing impact from current hydrocarbon technologies at the same time as growing green technologies.”
Chad thinks the pace and direction of change will have a lot to do with how people react to climate change.
“If you look at the number of natural disasters, the frequency and the scale of them as it’s increasing throughout the world — you wonder if that will be what forces change,” Chad says.
“A lot of what we’re talking about requires a long-term perspective. The challenge is that most of this is driven by regulation set by government, which is based on a short-term election cycle. It’s a clear gap when you’ve got people that are focused on getting re-elected in three years making decisions that have impacts in the range of 50 years.”
Both David and Chad were inspired by the sense of optimism they encountered in people like Kennedy — someone who has mainstream political influence in America — in speaking about real possibility for progress.
“The caution of fully endorsing the renewable economy takes away from its credibility. It’s not as monumental as it seems or as difficult as we make it out to be,” David says.
A version of this article was originally written for the Urban Systems news service. This repost, for which we received permission, follows the style guidelines of the original post. To learn more about generative newsroom options for your organization or community, please contact peter(at)axiomnews.ca.