There are a lot of inefficiencies in modern economies that new technologies and smarter processes could correct, which, as the FT reports, could lead to greater economic growth with a smaller environmental impact:
“[S]aving energy is not often thought of. It’s not political, not big projects, not glamorous, but it reduces costs for industry and contributes greatly to solving the climate equation,” [said Jean-Pascal Tricoire, chairman and chief executive of Schneider Electric.]It could be as simple as throwing a switch, he says. A school, for example, is typically occupied only 50 per cent of the time, so technology that turns off lights and heating can save half its energy use. […]Mr Tricoire is at pains to stress that he is not talking about insulation, or “passive efficiency”, but using the internet of things to make buildings more efficient, the capacity to connect every energy consuming element in the building to its users using simple principles.
Malthusians envision a dystopian future in which technology run amok leads to the rapacious overconsumption of natural resources. They fail, however, to account for the ways technological progress can streamline processes and boost efficiency.This is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak: as the developed world continues its transformation from a manufacturing economy to one predicated on the manipulation of information, energy-intensive industries will fall by the wayside, and growth will necessarily be less environmentally damaging. We’re already seeing this in the United States, where our economy’s energy intensity (the amount of energy consumed per dollar of GDP) continues to fall, and we can reasonably expect that trend to continue.The future is a lot brighter than your average green alarmist would have you think.