Vinod Khosla: When “Environmentalists” Get In The Way of Clean Tech Progress

vinod khosla

They have the power to stop multi-million solar installations in the Mojave Desert and shut down coal-powered factories for a day and sometimes forever. But celebrity clean tech investor Vinod Khosla, founder of Sun Microsystems from Khosla Ventures, says that environmentalists, though with good intentions can “do more damage than they know.”

Unlike investors who put their money and sometimes reputation on the line, anyone can be an environmentalist. There is no degree or certification needed, and being one doesn’t come with any sort of risk. The opposite: self-purported environmentalists could enjoy a kind of status among peers and their community.

Maybe that’s why Khosla, at a recent clean tech conference in San Francisco throws some cautionary words towards the green movement.

“Environmentalists get in the way…and do more damage than they know,” said Vinod Khoslavinod khosla at a recent TechCrunch Disrupt conference. Why? asks TechCrunch, a leading tech blog:  Self-described environmentalists demand or adopt technology that sounds promising without a sense of its true cost or impact to the environment. “Painting your roof white is better for the environment than driving a Prius or similar vehicle,” Khosla pointed out.

Khosla Ventures recently joined joined Sigma Partners investing a $13.7 million round in PVTSolar, which a company that created technology for solar power generation for home and light commercial use. Earlier last week, Khosla Ventures company Amyris — makers of non-petroleum fuels and chemicals — raised $85 million through an initial public offering.

What stake do you have in the environment? Are you an investor/industrialist, an environmentalist, or are you looking for the middle ground?

::TechCrunch (for the whole talk with Khosla).

Or follow him on Twitter @vkhosla

Image via businessweek

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