Investing is sort of always kind of supposed to be about the future, right? The challenge that has faced many an investor is that the future can be hard to predict. As it turns out, that leads much of the investment community to look at the past and extrapolate forward.
On the macro scale, one common assumption is that the economy will face ups and downs but will rise in the long term, because that’s what it’s always done. Whether it continues a long-term rise into a future of global heating, extreme drought, unprecedented wildfires, record flooding, superstorms, mass migration, and climate-related war is an open question. But the investment community is by and large counting on that continual rise.
The world changes, constantly, and that includes economies and markets as well as living organisms. Massive moves often involve “long” periods of “slow” change. However, that change speeds up as it approaches a “tipping point” and as feedback loops kick in, and then the shift can occur “in the blink of an eye.”
I’ve written before about the unprecedented shift from burning stuff for energy to renewable energy and electric transport. But there’s plenty more to write, discuss, and consider.
For one, a specific topic to discuss is that there’s a tremendous amount of money steeped in fossil industries that grew and grew decade after decade — these industries had “always grown,” and would hypothetically continue growing for decades to come. I think that’s very clearly not going to be the case soon, and once enough other people (with money) realize the same, the tipping point will come and go, the ramifications will be swift and powerful, the feedback loops will promptly amplify the situation, and trillions of dollars of cash will be looking for a new outlet.
If you beat the people managing those trillions of dollars out of the old and into the future, you can be rewarded handsomely when the laggards finally arrive. However, you still have to figure out where the world is headed and who’s set to: lead us into it, then survive, then grow to an extent that your investment is rewarded. Perhaps one of those leaders is even you and your sweat. Perhaps that’s largely a combination of several existing cleantech startups. Perhaps that’s giants like ABB, GE, Schneider Electric, GM, Nissan, BMW, Apple, Google, etc.
Of course, I think one safe assumption is that it’s going to be a mixture of companies that don’t exist yet, today’s cleantech leaders, and giants with foresight. But which ones? What’s needed to open the doors to the future, and who is going to come in and service those needs?
All of these issues are investment issues we are going to discuss at our coming Cleantech Revolution Tour in Berlin and Wroclaw, but we are also going to try to answer the questions to some degree. We are going to collect feedback and highlight key conclusions from sessions on June 28 and June 29, and then we’re going to try to synthesize it, dig deeper, and formulate a “Cleantech Revolution” investment portfolio with which to close out the conference.
We hope you’ll join us. It should be fun and exciting, if not a financial photon storm!