Is the recession the ultimate way to fight global warming? That's the suggestrion from one market commentator. Less spending=less greenhouse gas, he says. The outlook from international finance organizations is decidely gloomy. It follows that if spending's down, industrial output from China and elsewhere will be down. That means less coal and oil used. So lower fossil fuel prices may not keep consumption at 2007 levels.
There has been a steep drop in crude oil prices this fall. Less consumption has worked its way. But there are still increased home heating bills in much of the Northern Hemisphere with winter on its way. Global warming will NOT prevent all winter weather. So the official US government price forecast on crude oil is now below $115 per barrel for this full year.
As the markets and financial systems in general have been battered, greentech stocks have plunged along with oil, many currencies and stock markets all over. Some commentators urge any economic rebuilding be based on greener industries and retooling an energy-inefficient infrastructure the world over. There is some bitter consolation for us oil consumers. Oil-rich Russia has seen its stock markets hit harder than most. Bet some of those Russian capitalists are longing for more government control. Just like the big-time capitalists in Western Europe and North America are getting.
WHAT NEXT FOR GREENTECH?
I will not pretend to have an answer. The guys with the long titles and big bonuses can't get it right, so I'm surely no better than an interested guesser. Here are a few guesses I will hazard. Bank and investment jobs are going to be far fewer. That means smart folks will be mofre available for greentech start-ups. And greentech still needs to get less costly through innovative or scale or both.