This is the second post of two covering an interview with Dr. David Tyfield (pictured) on the topic of international collaboration in low carbon innovation. The Green Leap Forward had the opportunity to interview Dr. Tyfield before a live audience of about forty attendees at an event hosted by the Beijing Energy Network on October 29 in Beijing. The first post focused on questions posed by The Green Leap Forward, and this second post summarized Dr. Tyfield’s responses to questions posted by the viewing audience.
GLF would like to especially highlight his response below on intellectual property protection in China.
Q: Have you done any thinking on the relationship between low carbon innovation and the aspirations of the middle class, because what I see and a lot of us see is that the middle class in the West aspires to cars and we’re seeing the same thing happen in China.
DT: We haven’t done any size of work or research on it. My thoughts in particular would be on the issue of mobility rather than energy as far as the most obvious example of aspiration and the aspiration to cars and holidays. What I would say is that this goes back to what i was saying about the biggest obstacle being, in a sense, political will. Political will doesn’t just come from government; its a much more dispersed phenomenon. I don’t think I’m a pessimist, perhaps I call myself a realist. The people don’t look for alternatives until they are forces to. Arguably, another positive to come out from the recession is that people from the West start to actually question the standard of living, the extremely indulgent, the highly carbon consumptive standard of living they have enjoyed for twenty, thirty years, in particular. And therefore they will start to look for alternative. Of course that is going to take a long time and the first inclination when someone loses something is to try to get it back. So that the initial political pressure will be to do everything they can to preserve their high carbon standard of living. But if that proves impossible, and I think it will prove economically impossible, then they will start to look for alternatives, and that is when aspirations will start to change.
In terms of the middle class situation in the west, they are in many ways the greatest culprits for high carbon standards of living. But its when an electric car actually comes on to the market and becomes someting that peopel rush out to buy, just like when the new Apple iPhone came out. When that kind of thing happens, this will be the forerunners for developing these markets more widely in the West. I dont; think we will see struggling single mothers on housing estates leading the way on green consumption. Read the full story