At a breakfast roundtable on day 2 entitled Building a Low-Carbon Economy, Winners and Losers, the Director of NRDC’s Climate Sector, David Hawkins noted that the glass is half empty stating that “it’s not the rate of increase in clean tech indicating our future, it’s the rate of investments in old tech still coming online.” He added that although China is investing in clean tech, their newly released five year plans still calls for another couple hundred gig watts of coal.
On a panel entitled Will Coal Stay King? Bill Weihl the Green Energy Czar at Google sees the glass half-full as the company looks for ways to invest in energy that creates zero emissions, pushing the the alternative energy market to scale.
The discussion was followed by another panel: Is Green Marketing Still Relevant? Suzanne Shelton, President and CEO of the Shelton Group, remarked that we tend to be tricking ourselves into thinking the glass is half full, further noting that while 63% of consumers want greener products only 20% of the population is actually putting money where their mouth is. Research by the Shelton group has also indicated that 90% of the population say that they have done things to make their habits more sustainable, and 77% of the population say they have changed all of their light bulbs to a green alternative – both not true.
Inhabitat favorite William McDonough also made an appearance in multiple discussions over the last two days of the conference. McDonough sees the glass as overflowing, as sees potential in finding ways to deliver good design solutions to the masses. In China, he is working on a way to feed entire communities with wind powered vertical greenhouses and dedicating half of his architectural and design practice to public architecture projects.