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Sunday, March 04, 2007
 My Dot-Green Future 
My Dot-Green Future Is Finally Arriving is an article by Bruce Sterling in today's Post about the need for a sustainable economic future, and that the web is leading the way, including his venture in green design, Viridian Design.
In 1998, I had it figured that the dot-com boom would become a dot-green boom. It took a while for others to get it. Some still don't. They think I'm joking. They are still used to thinking of greenness as being "counter" and "alternative" -- they don't understand that 21st-century green is and must be about everything -- the works. Sustainability is comprehensive. That which is not sustainable doesn't go on. Glamorous green. I preached that stuff for years. I don't have to preach it anymore, because it couldn't be any louder. Green will never get any sexier than it is in 2007. Because, after this, brown will start going away.
There is a revolution underway in economic thinking. In 2005 I mentioned the concept called “negative externalities”, that bad things happen when we produce goods, but there is not cost associated with them. It seemed so obvious how wrong that was and that to fix the problem we must incorporate those negative externalities into the cost of doing business. It seems that we're now in the midst of a great economic revolution in which that is starting to happen. Also in the Post is the article When Being Green Puts You in the Black. Two equity firms have purchased TXU, and energy firm that was investing heavily in coal plants. Instead the new owners will reduce those investments and put more money into solar and wind power and conservation.
This deal shows that we are in the midst of a revolution. Environmental progress no longer depends on hundreds of bureaucrats at the Environmental Protection Agency mandating what piece of pollution-control equipment will be on each smokestack. Government must continue to set standards. But the burden of innovation and technology development will shift to the private sector.

Moving from "command and control" regulations to a market approach to environmental protection means that there will be real costs for pollution -- including a price to be paid for greenhouse-gas emissions -- for every business. But these costs sharpen the economic incentives for pollution control research and development, and create big opportunities for companies that come up with solutions for society's environmental problems.

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