Based on my own extensive analysis of the ongoing financial crisis, I’ve come to the following conclusions:
- Nobody clearly understands how we got in this situation.
- Nobody clearly understands what situation we are in.
- Nobody clearly understands what’s going to happen next.
- Despite all this, every single human being with access to a keyboard and a website is willing to make a mockery of the profession of journalism by making confident pronouncements.
Not me. I’m just a blogger, so I’m happily willing to admit my comparative cluelessness. I’ll just throw a few things out there for discussion.
Oil spiked up today to $130 a barrel — the largest one-day jump in price ever. Why? According to Bloomberg, it’s got something to do with a “squeeze play.” OK. According to energy consultant Jim Ritterbusch, “There’s a renewed scramble for commodities because of a general weakness in the dollar.” Over at WSJ, Keith Johnson hints that the rising price of oil will squash all the eco-talk from politicians. Of course, he predicts the same thing when the price of oil is low, so …
Meanwhile, apparently Emperor Paulson is planning on ponying up some $700 in taxpayer money to bail out banks, with few strings attached and virtually no measures to help out the little guy. A blank check for $700 billion to the Bush administration? What could go wrong?!
At the current rate of U.S. government spending on renewables, $750 billion could pay for 375 years of renewable R&D. Green groups are starting to speak up — Friends of the Earth just released a statement opposing the bailout. Sierra Club’s Carl Pope is raising tough questions as well.
What will the financial crisis do to the availability of capital to fund cleantech projects? We’re going to have more on that later. In the meantime, amid the musings over here on VentureBeat, Steve Perlman of “research-focused investment company” Rearden says, “We’re seeing particular interest in market segments which benefit when consumers and businesses are forced to cut costs … For example … green/cleantech (high gas prices combined with social awareness of global warming/political instability issues).” So maybe all this uncertainty could help cleantech? We’ll see.
A final note: I don’t ever want to hear again about how expensive renewables are. If we have $3 trillion for a pointless war and $750 billion to clean up the messes made by biz school grads playing with funny money, we by God have enough money to get off fossil fuels. It’s a matter of will, not cost.