Saturday, November 03, 2007

John Doerr Visits Google

I had the pleasure on Thursday of listening to John Doerr talk about global warming when he visited Google. This was a rehash of his TED talk linked to in the title of this post. He goes through many of the things we already know: getting the consumer to do the right thing without price signals is next to impossible (hence the need for a carbon tax), how Brazil transitioned to a largely fossil-fuel free transportation system, and what the upcoming technologies are.

Just as John Lovelock was, John Doerr is pessimistic. This is important, because by nature, venture capitalists are pretty much the most optimistic people on the planet. They have to be --- at least 50% of the companies they fund are outright failures. So if he's pessimistic, then I think Lovelock is right: the chances of Earth having an environment that human beings will find pleasant in 2050 is less than 50%.

Nevertheless, I had a few questions in my head as I left the talk:
  • When the partners at KPCB flew around the world to observe the effects of climate change first hand, did they fly coach? Or did they fly in their private jets, adding to the problem?
  • Did Mr. Doerr change his lifestyle when he learned of the problem? Or does he still drive a big fast car to work?
(These aren't my only questions, but my other questions are not appropriate on a public blog)

If someone as aware of the problem as Mr. Doerr is can't change his lifestyle despite knowing of the problems, what hope do we have of convincing the world that we have to do something about this?
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