The venture capital firm behind some of the most prominent recent green tech flops, led by major Dem donors and advised by Al Gore, is in big trouble as the green bubble bursts and one highly touted green investment after another goes belly up. A good, in-depth article in NYT Dealbook shows how Kleiner Perkins, the firm most famous for making smart bets on Amazon and Google in the 1990s, today finds itself struggling. The key passage:
About five years after the bubble burst, clean technology became Kleiner’s marquee strategy. Kleiner hired Al Gore, the former vice president, soon after his 2006 film about global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” won two Oscars. A member of President Obama’s economic recovery advisory board, Mr. Doerr has advocated for government policies and subsidies favoring clean-technology innovation.“Going green is bigger than the Internet,” Mr. Doerr said in 2007. “It could be the biggest economic opportunity of the 21st century.”
On the one hand, venture capitalists are in the business of making long bets on ideas that may or may not pan out as profitable businesses. The article makes the strong point that Kleiner Perkins’s current problems aren’t just due to its bets on green technology; they also failed to foresee the social media trend and didn’t invest early in Facebook or Twitter.On the other hand, the quote above perfectly illustrates a point we’re constantly making here at VM: The problem with the green agenda isn’t necessarily that it’s wrong about the problems it’s trying to fix. The climate may well be catastrophically warming, but it doesn’t follow from that fact that the greens’ favored solutions are effective, optimal, or inevitable.