Monday, April 11, 2011

Vinod Khosla gets it right

In The Economist's March Technology Quarterly, Vinod Khoslasays “Environmentalists are fiddling while Rome burns,” says Vinod Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture-capital firm. “They get in the way with silly stuff like asking people to walk more, drive less. That is an increment of 1-2% change. We need 1,000% change if billions of people in China and India are to enjoy a Western, energy-rich lifestyle.” Forget today’s green technologies like electric cars, wind turbines, solar cells and smart grids, in other words. None meets what Mr Khosla calls the “Chindia price”­the price at which people in China and India will buy them without a subsidy. “Everything’s a toy until it reaches that point,” he says.

As if to taunt many in the green movement, he goes on... "I decided that I
needed to look for scalable solutions, which meant self-propagating solutions, which meant
capitalist solutions. Proving the capitalist tool as a solution for poverty is high on my priority list.

Ends up, I believe he's exactly correct. As I've been saying since the first oil embargo, we need to innovate our way out of this mess. Not regulate or save our way.

Getting back to the "Chindia price" - we will need 12 times as much oil as we use now - when China and India reach our lifestyle (of energy use). We shouldn't fight that. We should own that! (Own the technologies that make everyone's life easier, better - with significantly lower carbon output.)

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