November 16th, 2010

“The Business Community is in Agreement, We Need a Price on Carbon” (VIDEO)


Last month, Green Light Distrikt Boston held our third Cleantech Kingpins speakers series, where we gather local experts to answer a single question facing our industry. The first speaker, Mitch Tyson came up and gave a blunt, fiery and amazing speech – see the full  video at the bottom of the post – that solidly, unequivocally stated that the business community is in complete agreement with each other, we need a price on carbon.

While some in the public see a price on carbon as some sort of tax, our business leaders see it as an opportunity to unleash huge amounts of innovation, job creation, and exports that can fuel our country. It’s all about how you frame the issue.

Mitch Tyson is the former CEO and current Chairmen of Advanced Electron Beams and Co-Founder of the New England Clean Energy Council, is a member of the Progressive Business Leaders Network, and heads the energy council of the Mass High Tech. Mitch is a clear cleantech leaders, both in the region and the country.

All the presenter were asked to answer two questions

  1. Why is the US not investing enough in cleantech?
  2. What are 3 specific things we need to do to reverse this trend?

Everyone loved the speech and Mitch has some amazing answer to the two questions posed to him that are summarized below.

Why is the US not investing enough in cleantech?

  1. “Wrong market signals, energy is too cheap. Why? Because we have no energy policy. Why? Because we’re addicted to cheap fuels and our politicians have no courage”
  2. “The business and environmental community are in sync, we need a price on carbon.”
  3. “We need to price energy correctly and incorporate its externalities so that it reflects the cost of climate disruption, oil spills and national security so we’d have more investment and also need to make the prices predictable.”
  4. “China and Europe get it. They have the right price, they regulate it, they subsidize it, they require it.”
  5. “Most frustrating, is that we have the people and technology, we have the funds, culture and companies but without the write pricing signals it won’t work.”

What are three things we must to do to reverse this trend?

  1. “Make it personal. Look at it and address it in our own lives. Both in how we live and WHERE we work. So the companies address the issues, as well. All companies are cleantech companies.”
  2. “Engage politically. The business community gets it and they need to speak louder about the importance of this for our economy and our future. We need to support the candidates that GET IT and have the courage to do it. Activate the public. We need a political movement in this country that understand sustainability and get its. If you combine the public and business community, you’ll have some power and there’s no way for the politicans to ignore us.”
  3. “We need to be patience, persistent, and committed. This is a long term problem and it won’t be fixed overnight. We need to speak for the voice of the future and utilize the ‘grandfather test’. Duke Energy’s CEO is committed to be zero carbon by 2050 because of the ‘grandfather test’ because he can’t look his grandchildren in the face and say he ran the dirtiest company in the world and never did anything about it.

Mitch Tyson’s Full 8 Minute Piece Presentation

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Chris Williams

About Chris Williams

Chris Williams is the editor of Green Light Distrikt and Chief Marketing Officer at HeatSpring . He has experience in business development, prototyping and new venture research with a focus on geothermal heat pumps, solar thermal and solar photovoltaic technologies. Chris is an IGSHPA accredited geothermal installer and NABCEP certified solar installer. Chris is focused on solving customer facing issues in the creation and adoption of clean energy technologies and products. Chris has installed over 300kW of solar and tens of geothermal systems. He's invented the PV Pal , developed many trainings at HeatSpring, publishes the NABCEP Study Guide , the Hitchhikers Guide to Cleantech and has done due diligence research for Urgent VC . Feel free to connect with him @topherwiliams , on Linkedin , or through email about new ventures, collaborating, writing, research or whatever is on your mind.