How to Sell Cleantech Investment to America

china

Many of the issues we face with renewable energy and clean tech ingeneral are technological problems, but I would argue many more of themhave to do with framing the issues and convincing people to change.Technology won’t do it by itself, the adoption and change of behaviorwill be the hard part.

We can learn a lot of lessons about framing from our reaction to the crisis in Haiti, and the change in terminology from global warming to climate change, bothworthless terms. These may seem like tiny, trivial issues butthey’re not. Something I always hear from engineer types is ’sales iseasy’. Bull, if you put them out in the wild they wouldn’t be able togive solar away. I believe that convincing people to do something isvery, very hard.

We can see this with how environmental, political, and businessgroups have tried to sell clean energy to the American public. It’s like a huge experimental with each group trying to figure out what willwork. To the environmentalists its saving the world, to republicans itcan be energy independence, to business owners it’s innovation andgrowth, to VCs is the trillion dollar opportunity that dwarfs theinternet boom.

Our real challenge seems to be figuring out how to frame the issuethat unites everyone.

If we’re certain about one things its this, the US is rapidly falling behind other regions in the development of clean tech, that includes,water, waste, energy, you name it.  A few weeks ago Stephen Lacey from Renewable Energy World published a podcast called “The NextGreat Global Industry” (ps- if you don’t already listen to theInside Renewable Energy podcast by Stephen Lacey, you should, it’sawesome) where the guests near the end of the podcast described thephenomenon.

Here’s my question to you: what’s the best way to sell thisto the American public?

In my perspective, we could use many frames, but the question iswhich one or ones will be most effective. If we just split the world intwo, the ’save the word’ part would convince the hippies andenvironmentalists, while the ‘beat china’ would cater to the replication crowd. Shhhhh, here’s the secret, whatever you choose leads to the same answers, MORE CLEAN TECH INVESTMENT!

I’m curious, what do you think is the best way to sell this?

-Chris

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