TED Conversations

Joe Nyangon


This conversation is closed.

Why has "green consumption" of sustainable products (e.g. Whole Foods, Toyota Prius) not permeated electricity consumption?

While many consumers have embraced sustainable products (eg. Whole Foods, Toyota Prius), that ethos has not yet permeated electricity consumption. Why do you think this is the case? Will it always be like this? Will renewable energy consumption be driven only by government mandates? Why? Or do you think this will change? If the marketplace were fair and rational, there would be no need for subsidies and mandates for the renewables and a proper carbon tax would suffice—as is starting to happen in Europe through cap-and-trade system. What will drive the change to clean energy consumption?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Mar 31 2012: The problem begins with the fact the US has never had an energy policy/plan, as Mr. Picken's points out during his TED talk. America has grown up using oil, natural gas and coal to power its mighty factories, schools, and homes. People were led to believe that coal was going to be the power source for America for years to come due to its abundance in the US. This is no longer the case, as we have learned more about global warming and the effects of greenhouse gases on the weather patterns of our planet. It is going to take a government mandate and subsidies to force power production to move in the direction of cleaner and more sustainable. The idea of a carbon tax is great except it creates a way for companies to still pollute by diverting carbon credits.(For lack of space I cannot elaborate further on the trading of carbon credits)Rather or not this requires cutting all subsidies to dirty power production or not, I'm not here to say, but what I can say with relative confidence is that we no longer have a choice of when we are going to make the change, but how? TED conferences have seen a large amount of ideas on addressing the power issue. It will be the culmination of these ideas that will help us begin to move towards a more sustainable, cleaner future. As part of this move we must take nuclear power seriously, we need to invest in wind and solar, but also tidal, geo-thermal, hydro, ultraviolet energy transfer. The list goes on and on, and we cannot bank on only one or two types of energy production. We will need a vast, smart, integrated grid that is hyper efficient and is capable of meeting the ever growing power demands of society and the solution to those demands is not 2-dimensional but multi-dimensional.
    • thumb
      Apr 2 2012: My major concern with cap and trade is the admttedly slight possibility that it turns out we are wrong about global warming, but when we find out the global carbon market will be considered too big to let collapse. Sound familiar
      • Apr 8 2012: I have heard about individuals and corporations buying land where the grasses and other vegitation can be used for carbon offsets. Cap and Trade will create a business out of thin-air, increase the cost of land beyond the average person's income, oppress the majority of citizens and help the rich become richer. Therefore isn't it possible that pursuing saving the world is merely a power play?

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.