Is Cleantech biased?

I often view the investment category 'Cleantech' as biased toward consumption. I think there is a tendency toward doing the same with less energy rather than doing less of a thing. Buy food closer to home rather than eat less. Use a hybrid rather than a bike. This thinking also leads many cities, even Toronto, to spend more on cheap parking rather than on bike access, but that is another story.

Returning to the main point, since we wish to continue expanding economies and wealth, we prefer to do more with cleaner energy. Since many of our populations are growing, albeit the total is slowing, net world consumption is not slowing. Incremental thinking such as "recycle your pop can" or "make your SUV a hybrid" is insufficient to the task.

Continuing to consume and expand, but in a cleaner way is, of course, laudatory and critical. But much is merely incremental rather than disruptive. A tweak rather than a deep change. Often just a shuffling of deck chairs.

Kamal Hassan, CEO for Skymeter Corporation, makes a case for investing a new way to pay for consumption of carbon-based mobility -- paying for road use rather than fuel use. The intention of this technology is to have drivers drive less in peak hours, maybe even drive less altogether.

This is cleantech at its best.

Fortunately for Skymeter, this is exactly what the US Congress is prescribing for its congested, underfunded highways.

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