Green

GreenBeat: Accenture's Sharon Allan says U.S. needs to play catch-up in cleantech

Sharon Allan, leader of Accenture’s North America Smart Grid practice, took the stage at GreenBeat2009 to present results to the firm’s survey on attitudes toward and responses to climate change and initiatives to battle global warming. Unsurprisingly, her major points also pointed to the U.S. falling behind other developed countries in battling the emission of greenhouse gases, and supporting the innovations and policies needed to slash carbon output — something John Doerr also decried in his opening.

Several statements jumped out during her talk:

- First, that the regulatory environment remains disastrously uncertain. There is no better indicator of this than the U.S. Senate’s failure to pass clean energy legislation and the establishment of a carbon cap-and-trade system before the end of the year. Not only does this mean that Obama will fall short of achieving his legislative objectives for the year, but it also means that the country will show up empty handed to the United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen in December — something that could throw off the entire effort to draw up global greenhouse gas targets and emissions cuts.

- Second, that surveyed individuals acknowledge that climate change is happening, and that they are opposed to it, but are still not willing to pay for a lower use of carbon. They are not willing to shell out for products or services that will cut emissions, especially if they violate their everyday patterns or reduce their comfort in any way.

- Third, companies and the corporate establishment working on climate change and innovations that will support reductions in greenhouse gases, are looking to the government on a federal, state, and even local level to kick off change. Companies themselves are not going to be the bearers of this transition — especially if they don’t have the financial initiatives to do so.

Allan wrapped up her talk by tipping her hat to the need for community and collaboration around climate change and the Smart Grid.

“There is a groundswell not only across this country, but the world — a common need to be better stewards of our use of energy and how we produce and consume it,” she said. “As a community we have to embrace this opportunity, so that we can grow business.”

VentureBeat is hosting GreenBeat, the seminal executive conference on the Smart Grid, today and tomorrow, Nov. 18-19, featuring keynotes from Nobel Prize winner Al Gore and Kleiner Perkins’ John Doerr. Register for your ticket today at GreenBeat2009.com.