In a massive shakeout, green technology start-ups the world over have taken a major dive, as the harsh realities of dealing with global recession set in.
The scene is reminiscent of the ‘dotcom’ bust in 2000. After years of hype and exuberant investment in everything from nano solar to bio-diesel from bacteria, the turbines of hot air around alternative energy investment have slowed to a listless crawl.
One can almost hear the methane escaping from the bio-reactors; the occasional dripping from the silent ethanol refineries; the nano crystals slowly decaying in the abandoned labs.
As stocks plummet, venture capitalists commiserate with each other over an evening beer and wonder where the next big investment bubble will arise. With oil prices firmly below US$ 35 per barrel and coal seemingly in infinite supply, they share a rueful grin; how could they have believed those blue sky valuations for green innovations?
Economics always rule, and when jobs are paramount and staying in business critical, the environment and organic life-styles take a back seat. “Kyoto,” I hear you say, “isn’t that a style of Japanese cuisine? Like Sushi, if you can afford it.”
As for fossil fuels – they’re all the rage; they keep the wheels of industry turning. And everyone now knows that hybrid cars cost more to manufacture than the energy they save. What’s a little CO2 when you’re desperately trying to bring down the national debt and keep the unions happy?
Oh well, there’s always biotech. Regenerating amputated limbs and reversing ageing – now that’s worth investing in!