Friday, August 22, 2008

The Free-Market Case for Green

The biggest threat to businesses is not climate change.

The biggest threat to business is in fact the proposed measures that government will impose on industry in order to fight the mythical threat of climate change.

While the Clark government leads NZ to economic oblivion with its radical environmental crusade, it may still be time to examine a different philosophy. T J Rodgers proposes that governments should stand aside and allow the market to deliver energy choices.

T. J. Rodgers is the founder and CEO of Cypress Semiconductor Corp which owns solar-power manufacturer SunPower and the chairman of SunPower Corp, a manufacturer of solar-power systems. He holds a doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford University and sits on the board of trustees of Dartmouth College.

T. J. Rodgers is a dedicated, unabashed, free-market capitalist and Libertarian is also a “green” environmentalist. Rodgers, believes that “green is green,” that it’s a money-maker and a winner for business. Says Rodgers, “You serve people by making things people want.” And if people want pollution-free power, the free-market can deliver it.

T. J. Rodgers separates climate science from global-warming fiction:

Do greenhouse gasses elevate temperatures? Probably true.

Are some global-warming scientists spreading false alarms? Probably true, again.

Is there more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere now than, say, 100 years ago? Probably true.

Is this catastrophic? Probably not.

In sum: Rodgers says it’s simply not clear that global warming is a catastrophe.

Does solar power “pay,” in the capitalist sense of the word? Almost. According to T. J. Rodgers, solar power is on the edge of of generating a worthwhile return on investment. And while there’s a learning curve involved in the process of efficiently capturing solar energy, it is neither steep nor prolonged.

In the cause of dealing with global warming, Al Gore proposes replacing payroll taxes with pollution taxes on CO2; Barack Obama supports “cap-and-trade,” in which businesses can emit CO2 to a certain level, after which they will need credits to do so; and John McCain leans toward cap-and-trade, but with an emphasis on subsidies for nuclear energy. T. J. Rodgers has strong opinions on each plan, and stresses overall that government should get out of the energy business.

T. J. Rodgers discusses the promise and pitfalls of the most popular alternative-energy sources (other than solar). Ethanol? Rodgers says it’s a “total waste.” However, bioengineering and genetic engineering that address the entire corn plant, rather than just the fruit, hold promise. Wind power? Rodgers says it produces high energy volume while remaining cheaper per kilowatt hour than solar. Nuclear? Not only is it cheap and efficient — it’s safe.

Click the following links for the full fascinating interview:

Part 1 The Free-Market Case for Green

Part 2 The Free-Market Case for Green

Part 3 The Free-Market Case for Green

Part 4 The Free-Market Case for Green

Part 5
The Free-Market Case for Green

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