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When Harvey Met Doerr

What happens when a policy expert meets a veteran venture capitalist over the topic of climate change and climate action?

One of two things could happen: They get deep into specifics, with the audience drowning in complex concepts and possibly the attendant jargons. Or, they could stick to basics, focus on things that matter and actually leave us with some really valuable sparks to take back.

I found a 2020 TED discussion between Hal Harvey, a prominent climate policy veteran and John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins to be in the latter category.

For someone like me whose daily bread (and sadly, little of butter) has been earned reading about climate action, not much of what they spoke about was new. But the clarity of concepts and the focus brought to priority domains were worthwhile.

Some interesting highlights:

=> Just about 90 executives in the United States responsible for grid policy implementation are in charge of over 30% of all CO2 emissions. That is, if these 90 people are made to put down effective policy frameworks, the US could decarbonize much faster. That is appealing. I must say far more appealing than relying on thousands of disparate people, many of them with limited knowledge but unlimited vested interests, converging on each year’s COP extravaganza – heads of state, bureaucrats, billionaires, think tanks and many other jokers who just about manage to slime in.

=> The US invests about $2.5 billion annually in clean energy R&D. Americans spend $4 billion a year on potato chips. This is the kind of juxtapositions in debates we need while trying to fix priorities.

=> China has over 400,000 electric buses. America has fewer than 1000 (2020 data) – in fact, China has over 90% of all electric buses running on roads globally! China got there not through market mechanisms but SOLELY through well crafted and implemented policies

There’s more that you can get from this TED discussion.

It was valuable to me. And not to forget, I just loved the setting of the discussion – so picturesque that some may want to watch the video just for this!


Hal Harvey | John Doerr | Kleiner Perkins

See my LinkedIn post on this topic

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