Normalization of Green Tech

A theme that came up in our meetings with the Climate Change Brain Trust was that, by 2040, clean/green technologies should be so pervasive that we take them for granted.

That implies a couple of things:

  • Necessary behavioral and systemic changes have occurred at a large scale.
  • Breakthrough innovations and simple solutions that combat climate change are part of our everyday life.

@rdrogers, @VivianScott, would love your take on this! Is this a viable future vision for the year 2040? If so, how do we get there?

It is viable and it is already happening. The changes are being brought about by stress and in lieu of green tech being so much cheaper than anything else, stress will likely be the driver. We have a Coronavirus vaccine because of stress which allowed relaxation of regulations and a lot of money to focus on the problem. Technical feasibility has already been demonstrated for many viable green tech solutions (perhaps some are temporary steps but giving progress) and more could be demonstrated with proper financial support. However, political an economic drivers are still in the way.

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Hi @darlenedamm and @akb - What are your views on normalization of green tech.

Yes the vision could well be realistic by 2040 [and should be, if the targets are to be achieved].

In addition to the relevant innovations, culture changes, costs, etc, there’s another factor that might need to be introduced to combat the use and abuse of the terms “clean” and “green”. It is important to recognise that nothing is completely sustainable, and every action has the potential to have an adverse impact on some aspect of the environment.

A standardised, global, system for measuring and evaluating impact might be useful, so that everyone can see the quantitative impact of each solution. This means considering many factors (e.g. energy consumption, changes to the environment and ecosystems, and pollution along the full supply chain). This is a complex domain, and susceptible to significant levels of uncertainty. However, from the public perspective a simple, easy to understand, representation would be useful. Matching the complex domain with the simplicity requirement might be easier said than done; but it might prove worthwhile - accelerating the best “green/clean” solutions via consumer choice. [Though, of course, cost is very important too.]

Regarding the statement that nothing is sustainable, the Sustainability Scale might inspire some thoughts on this topic.


Talking of global standards, those of the International Standards Organisation might be a useful starting point (e.g. for quality and environment). It also includes a mechanism for reviewing organisations that currently hold a standards certification. Perhaps something like this could be extended to include an evaluation of the “green/clean” aspect.

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This ties in with another discussion we’re having: that in our ideal future, companies would be valued according to their environmental impact. We’d need some sort of standardized system to do that.

I suspect this will come back in the breakthroughs phase of the program.

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Hi @b0bbybaldi - What are your thoughts on normalization of green tech.

@Shashi the industry has been moving towards this for some time, nevertheless there is still much diversity and lack of standardisation or even translation capabilities between companies and renewable technologies. Much work is needed to invest in the tedious process of standardizing everything into inter-exchangeable metrics so that renewables can take off.

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Hi @Shashi - I came across this article in the WSJ , which is behind a pay wall, but the headline seems to suggest that we may have already flipped into a future where green tech is the norm. I also found this article, which I believe is a summary of the article:

  • Investments into funds focused partly on the environment reached almost $2 trillion globally last quarter, more than tripling in three years.
  • Last year total investments into green tech exceeded $520 billion which was a new record.
  • Free markets and investors are creating the pathways needed to advance environmentally friendly technologies.
  • While the government certainly has a role to play in the energy transition, it is the private sector that should lead the way.
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Thanks Darlene for sharing this article. Its pretty insightful.

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