Thursday, January 03, 2008

2008 Predictions from others - UPDATED

Predictions are an especially fun post. Opining about the future with no real consequences, connecting historical trends with forecasts and projections, seeing how it all fits into the ever-evolving social, economic and political context…what’s not to love?

Unfortunately, the difficulty with year-end recaps and predictions is that they tend to put a finite cap on certain trends, and artificially inflate others. So for example, 2007 becomes the year when the business community took global warming seriously, or the year when the stock market finally profited from renewable energy, or the year when the biofuel boom ended, and so forth. A similar philosophy is applied to 2008, which can lead to predictions which are in fact just continuations of existing trends, or ignoring new developments which may become large-scale phenomena down the road.

As this blog is theoretically a long-term endeavor, I’ve collected a lot of other (smarter) bloggers’ predictions as well in this post. Partly I wanted an easy collection point for future reference, and to see what others were saying, but I also wanted to rank myself against others. A few of my favorite prediction posts (and 2007 trend recaps) are below ranked in quasi-order of enjoyment, followed by my own thoughts for 2008 in a separate post. Each post here takes a different perspective on 2008, but all are fascinating to read.

2008 Clean Break Lookahead
The World of Energy in 2007
The Top Energy Stories to Watch in 2008
Renewables and the New Year
Looking ahead to 2008, pt. 1: Finally the exits?
Eight Cleantech Developments to Watch for in 2008

Reviewing these various predictions and trend recaps (and many others that weren’t included here), I’m struck by a few things.

There is a good deal of interest in ocean power and/or offshore wind, energy efficiency and capturing carbon for storage. A lot of people are targeting electric cars and battery storage. Many are focused on the potentially gigantic impact of China, both as a manufacturer and a market, and the resurgence of nuclear power. Others are looking at the authenticity and strategy of the corporate environmental response (versus charges of “greenwashing”).

What I found even more interesting however, was what was missing. Almost no one was interested in carbon markets, advanced biofuels or infrastructure investment, capacity constraints, the U.S. political environment or the impacts of a weakening economy, a reduced interest in coal and an increased interest in design.

You can see my own thoughts for 2008 here.

UPDATE: A few more posts on the same subject are below. Some of these are really good:

10 green tech predictions for the new year
The top green stories of 2007
Three Financiers Foretell 2008
The Green Year in Review
Earth2Tech’s Predictions for 2008

Photovoltaics: 2007 Post Review and 2008 Trends to Watch – Part 2

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