Jeremy Rifkin Blog

Waking Up a Nation: Recognising the Potential of the Third Industrial Revolution

Upon the release of my book “The Green New Deal” I gave an overview of how the masses are entering a zero-carbon economy. My goal is to create the Third Industrial Revolution, which essentially changes the foundations of how energy is consumed. To better understand the concept of the Third Revolution, we simply need to look at what has gone before.

The First Industrial Revolution was powered by coal and steam, with oil and telephony pioneering the Second Industrial Revolution. Become less reliant on fossil fuel will mean that a cleaner infrastructure will pave the way for the Third Industrial Revolution.

I believe that the convergence of 5G communication is integral when it comes to creating a modernised infrastructure  as is a renewable energy Internet, From here, a cleaner and more beneficial infrastructure can be put in place that creates a brighter environment as well as more opportunity in relation to employment.

It’s worth noting that the fossil fuel industry currently represents stranded assets of more than $100 trillion. This is made up of various ports, power plant and ocean drilling that will have to become obsolete at some point.

The future doesn’t have to be one that is lacking hope and inspiration, but it’s important for changes to be made sooner rather than later. For example, a discussion with US Congress shows that there are many changes that need to be implemented in order to achieve a brighter future, including the updating of buildings and upgrading of the current energy grid.

There is also the transportation infrastructure to consider as well as the implementation of a green0-collar workforce. Such transitions can take time and trying to implement them at the last-minute means there is less time for society to adapt.

The continuation of the Second Industrial Revolution also means that there is more disruption in different areas of society, especially when it comes to employment.

I feel that the key to transition is leveraging the benefit of the pension fund industry. As the global pension funds represent $40 trillion in investments, it’s certainly a worthwhile consideration, but time is of the essence.

We have less than 12 years to try and cut the emission of global warming gasses by 45%, or we could fall foul of the current ecosystem breaking down around us.

Just because some are slow to embark on the changes needed to introduce a more progressive future, this doesn’t mean that steps aren’t being taken by other major economies. China has risen to prominence for several reasons of late, and this can be attributed to the open-minded approach the country takes to technology as well as the environment.

A recent report by the IRENA states that China is perfectly primed to become the world’s renewable energy superpowers. To break this down, Chine current has one-third of the world’s wind power, six of the top ten solar panel manufacturers and four of the top ten wind-turbine makers.

Despite Chine hoping to deliver low-carbon and circular development to Asia as well as having a potentially global customer base, China has also had to recognise that it is one of the largest polluted countries in the world.

Many may not be aware that China us response for the burning of half of the world’s coal, and it’s BRI ventures have been responsible for the exportation of dirty energy projects. However, Beijing is keen adopt a future that consists of clean energy, with signs show that China will invest as much as $6 trillion in clean energy technologies over the next 20 years.

Although there are signs that countries such as the US are taking steps to create energy in a renewable form as opposed to fossil fuel, there are still a lot things that need to be done to ensure that the world as a whole is prepped for the future.

Acting sooner rather than later ensures that society has time to adopt a new green energy, and for this occur, all those in power need to making the right decisions.