The 'Cool' Economy
- 12 January 2010
By Molly Webb, Head of Smart Technologies, The Climate Group.
The economic 'boom' formerly known as 'Clean Tech' is now The 'Cool' Economy - so named by the UK Technology Strategy Board mission to California (http://www.cleanandcoolmission.com/)
I like the phrase, though I'm sure it is more often associated with a sluggish economy than a booming new area of commerce. However, it describes perfectly the convergence of Clean Tech with the IT revolution.
Bringing Information and Communications Technologies to bear on climate change is not merely an add-on. If we aim to abate CO2 equivalent emissions to 1 or 2 tonnes per person by 2050 (when we may have 9 billion people on the planet), we need radical resource efficiency and market transformation. We will therefore require intelligent systems - along with caps on carbon - that allow us to more efficiently and creatively tackle energy and resource challenges.
UKTI, Volans, Polecat and Enterprise UK have got it right in looking to California for this convergence. To companies like eSolar that use advanced algorithms to orient mirrors to exactly face the sun and generate more power. As Bill Gross said to us last year at our Postcode Lottery event with Tony Blair, "We use Moore's law, not more steel" to make their solar thermal power plants efficient.
Now eSolar has cut the first solar thermal deal with a Chinese company, licensing its technology and able to go to market four times faster than any deal Bill Gross could strike in the US. The deal features in Tom Friedman's continuing story on China's global leadership in investments in IT and green ('Energy Technology').
Rather than view China as a threat, we support more 'Cool and Clean' partnerships between competing nations that will accelerate our path to 80% emissions reductions by 2050.