On to the one area which is more important than technology or governmentâ€¦the environment.Â Here is my analysis of how I did at predictions related to Climate Change and related topics last year:
Prediction: While weâ€™ll probably continue to flail politically, green business will rise out of the recession and start to make it less of a political issue. After all, who needs to mandate things people are making money on? Success stories: conservation, green transportation (smaller and electric cars), and â€“ at least in 2010 â€“ less needless consumption.
How did I do? Iâ€™ll actually rate this as mostly right.Â We have flailed politically.Â Cancun resulted in nice but non-binding plans.Â There are success stories in the electric car market â€“ the Volt and the Leaf are both to market and have waiting lists (although they are a tiny part of the overall car market). We are seeing conservation successes.Â Here is a success story about the Kestrel, one on wild turkeys, and another for a snake â€“ the antiguan racer.Â I think those of us who care about the environment tend to talk down success because there is so much left to be done, but itâ€™s nice to know itâ€™s possible. Â Although I havenâ€™t looked up figures for it, Iâ€™m guessing that the year of continued recession (and thatâ€™s what it was, for most people and industries) meant less consumption.Â Iâ€™m sure weâ€™re not doing any of this as fast as we need to, but maybe weâ€™ll get faster as the effects of climate change get clearer.
Prediction: Iâ€™m going to re-make last yearâ€™s prediction. In some areas at least, things will get worse. I donâ€™t know if it will be drought, hurricanes, ocean carbon, or ice melt, but the Earth is reacting faster than we expect it to. More extremes.
How did I do? I got this one right.Â The affects of climate change have continued to be chaotic and tough.Â Doubt me?Â Here are a few links:
- 2010 set world records for weather extremes By Kate Spinner
- 2010 Extreme Weather: Deadliest Year In A Generation by SETH BORENSTEIN and JULIE REED BELL
Prediction: Smart grid will be the buzzword of the year, and a big business opportunity. Mostly still in large projects and on corporate campuses, rather than on the national public grid.
How did I do? Mostly a miss. Smart grid talk has fallen off of the national news so it didnâ€™t become the buzzword of the year.Â I suspect that cloud computing will drive the need for more reliable grid, as well as further implementation of green energy (which is happening â€“ take the eastern route from Seattle to Bend â€“ across the 90 and down the 97 â€“ the landscape is very different now).Â I did find a good article while I was doing my homework though.Â Yes, progress happened.Â But not as much as I thought.Â Iâ€™m beginning to think smart grid will be a background technology that the public only hears a bit of while itâ€™s slowly built out.Â That would be okay, as long as it gets done.
Prediction: The percent of people who believe climate change is happening will rise again, approaching 70% again (as of October 2009, it was measured at 57%).
How did I do? Missed.Â I guess I keep thinking Americans believe in science or even observation of the world around them.Â I guess not.Â Hereâ€™s an article on GRIST that tries to explain, but doesnâ€™t really do a much better job than I do.Â Maybe we need to put our electronic toys away and look around us.Â The part that worries me about this topic is that sometimes when I need to learn something, I need to get hit over the head by something big to actually change.Â A progression.Â Like from a gentle slap to a two-by-four to a metal baseball bat to a bullet.Â As a species, we’re onto the two by four and getting close to the metal baseball bat on climate change.
So thatâ€™s a wrap on my prediction games from 2010.Â Yes, Iâ€™ll play for 2011 too.Â Maybe tomorrow.Â In the meantime, I always like this exercise, and what matters isnâ€™t whether Iâ€™m right or not, but that we talk about these kinds of topics lest we entertain ourselves into an early grave as a species.Â I still believe weâ€™re better than that.