Monday, October 18, 2010

Hermann Scheer (1944-2010): German Lawmaker, Leading Advocate for Solar Energy and "Hero for the Green Century" in One of His Final Interviews

This interview was interesting in terms of the ideas expressed in it on switching an entire economy to green energy. Germany has now become a world leader in renewable non-fossil fuel energy.

One of the best analogies Scheer deploys to make an argument for decentralised green energy by using the analogy of IBM. I used to wonder why a historical computer giant like IBM did not dominate the computer industry. IBM had half a century plus of supremacy in the computer industry, but it has been overtaken by Microsoft, Apple and Google. IBM during the mid eighties was apparently planning for, and developing large centralised computing units; mainframes, and focusing all its energy on the mainframe market. However, Apple, and eventually Microsoft, consumer-ised computers and computing power, allowing a sort of democratisation of computing power to occur. IBM, with it's centrally commanded model of the computer consumer market was left behind.

This is the argument that begins at 39:56

There is an example, very actual, which gives the picture, which could be the model for that. This is the information technological revolution, because the energy experts, the big information technology companies, like IBM, they thought, twenty-five years ago, the future of information technology is in highly centralized computers. They were the experts. Like our energy experts. And they underestimated totally what happens if there is a shift caused of the technological possibilities from few demanders, who order big computer stations, too many, to millions. This changes all. And the same will happen, and must happen, with renewable energies.

It is a fight. This is a structural fight. It is a fight between centralization and decentralization, between energy dictatorship and energy participation in the energy democracy. And because nothing works without energy, it’s a fight between democratic value and technocratical values. And therefore, the mobilization of the society is the most important thing. And as soon as the society, most people, have recognized that the alternative are renewable energies and we must not wait for others, we can do it by our own, in our own sphere, together in cooperatives or in the cities or individually. As soon as they recognize this, they will become supporters. Other—this is the reason why we have now a 90 percent support against all the disinformation campaigns. They have much more money and possibilities to influence the public opinion, but they lost this. They lost this conflict. In the eyes of the people, they lost the conflict. They are the losers already.

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