Jeff Skoll


Forbes - - CON­TENTS -

We are on the cusp of a clean-en­ergy econ­omy, where en­ergy is es­sen­tially cost­less, abun­dant and safe, with no ex­ter­nal­i­ties, no health costs, no Deep­wa­ter Hori­zons. Around the world, so­lar has done what looks like Moore’s Law. Wind has done some­what the same, com­ing down to a com­pet­i­tive place. And to fin­ish the tri­fecta, there’s a step change in bat­ter­ies about to hit the world next year. I would liken the clean-en­ergy rev­o­lu­tion to the in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion, just hap­pen­ing faster. The num­bers are stag­ger­ing.

Hav­ing clean, in­ex­pen­sive, suf­fi­cient en­ergy that’s not con­trolled in some govern­ment’s hands or some big busi­ness’ hands helps solve a cou­ple of the gi­ant threats com­ing down the pike. Cli­mate change, ob­vi­ously, is a big­gie— this stuff doesn’t solve it, but it mit­i­gates it. In terms of water is­sues, if you have enough clean en­ergy and you have ac­cess to an ocean, you can de­sali­nate and then pipe that de­sali­nated water where you need it, and grow food in deserts that pre­vi­ously couldn’t sus­tain agri­cul­ture. In the Mid­dle East, there’s a lot of con­flict over water as well as refugees and dis­place­ment. Clean tech may also cover some of the is­sues with nu­clear pro­lif­er­a­tion. There’s no need to build new nu­clear plants, so why would any­one build one ex­cept for weapons? On the pan­demics side, peo­ple liv­ing in bet­ter liv­ing con­di­tions with more plen­ti­ful health and food op­tions are less likely to be struck with dis­eases that be­come epi­demics that be­come pan­demics.

The clean-en­ergy econ­omy can hap­pen in the next 10 years. So when I think out 100 years, we’re ei­ther go­ing to be in a world of ex­treme abun­dance and peace and pros­per­ity where peo­ple live these glo­ri­ous lives, or we’re go­ing to be toast. It’s one or the other.

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