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Of Comets and Carbon

By Terry Tamminen

What do the horseless carriage, the iPod, and global warming have in common? Once thought fads or fantasy, it turns out that all three are here to stay.

It also turns out that each is more connected to the other than is apparent at first glance, especially when viewed through the lens of 21st century business. In the coming weeks, this blog will take readers on a journey of connecting the dots, from emerging technologies to evolving environmental ethics. I’ll share some insights as I travel the world - - working with inventors, investors, and political visionaries - - offering provocative and profitable ways to shape the future of our planet and our economies.

Corporate social responsibility ("CSR"), especially when it comes to the environment, offers that rare intersection of doing well and doing good at the same time. But environmental CSR (call it "e-CSR") will be defined in new ways, even with a new language. Growing concern (and regulation) of greenhouse gases, for example, will result in a trillion dollar carbon market within a decade, creating a new global currency that anyone can trade for a profit.

Climate change will collide with dwindling natural resources to democratize the energy that powers our economies, redefining the haves and have-nots almost overnight. Think about it - - oil, uranium, even coal are in short supply and are controlled by the few, while the sun, wind, moving water, and things that grow are available, unfettered , to every human being on earth. Helping people master the technologies that convert those resources to something useful will fundamentally change our economic and political landscapes, like heat and pressure turn carbon into diamonds (hmmm...that has a familiar ring!). e-CSR at its best - - what’s good for the environment and its people is also very good for the bottom line.

On his last day in office, British Prime Minister Tony Blair told me that only the most sustainable businesses will survive and thrive in the 21st century. They will define our future on this planet. We’ve got a comet by the tail, so let’s use this blog to understand and enjoy the ride.

Terry Tamminen •