The moving target of public discourse

From the beginning of this project, the evolution of the public discourse has been one of the challenges. It is difficult to plan a production to be relevant to a issue that is rapidly evolving, and hope to have it also seem timely and supply new information.

Another example of this was the Wall Street Journal’s conference for corporate leaders and investors that took place last week at the Bacara Resort just a few miles from the production office.

Reported lightly, even by the Journal, the meeting featured CEOs of several of the largest US corporations, as well as representatives of NGOs.

This story in Marketwatch brings up one of the surprises of how much has changed during the course of this production, “Most attendees said the likelihood of putting together such a high-powered conference just two years ago was nil.”

And while there was much repartee over various issues on the panels, there was a consistent agreement about a lack of leadership at the federal level. “Throughout the conference, the White House and Congress came under heavy fire for failing over the past seven years to set the policies and legal parameters business needs to come up with environmental strategies. Regardless of which party wins the 2008 presidential election, the belief among this crowd is that the “hell” of regulatory uncertainty, as GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt put it, is about to end.”

That’s right. Uncertainty is now about regulations and policy, not nature.

Certainty is about the capability to solve the problems. Doubt is about when will the policymakers make the rules stable for investors.

There is still plenty of room for disagreement, as in which technology can actually supply the cheapest and cleanest energy, and who should get front row at the subsidy feeding trough. Plenty of elbowing and politicking is ahead.

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