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The Gulf oil disaster may finally be the needed catalyst for getting comprehensive US policy on energy and climate. If that’s the silver lining that emerges from this dark ecological cloud, then the damage won’t be for naught. With global economic jitters continuing, not even high-flying cleantech has escaped the negative sentiment.

While solar company Solyndra recently announced that it had withdrawn its IPO, citing adverse market conditions, focus has shifted to recently announced IPO by EV manufacturer Tesla Motors. It’s clear that low carbon technologies still need a clear market signal to tap pent-up market enthusiasm, achieve scale and compete on a level playing field with fossil fuels.

If Congress chooses to respond to the BP oil disaster and put a price on carbon, thereby delivering that price signal, perhaps we will finally reach a point where cleantech hits full stride, instead of the moving with the fits and starts that have characterized the industry to date.

Now more than ever it’s up to cleantech companies to make their voices heard on Capitol Hill and state capitals and press for policies that will accelerate the adoption of clean technologies. Our cleantech practice continues to actively promote the sector through a variety of channels, including public affairs and government relations.

(Written by William Brent, senior vice president and head of Weber Shandwick’s Cleantech practice)

Image courtesy of Green Fire Productions.

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