“The road to inevitability is inevitably messy!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
Here’s a story that gives me this conclusion – the path to the future is always uneven, messy, and complex. With that in mind, maybe it’s a good idea to reinforce your understanding of the short-term volatility that occurs with any long-term trend.
Let’s start here: politics. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!
You might have noticed earlier this week that out in Wyoming, a rather innovative approach to the future was proposed by the Republicans – ‘lets’ ban electric cars!‘ The reason? It would be good for the economy, which is heavily carbon-based. Besides, it would own the libs out in California, where plans are in place to mandate electric vehicles some years out! Grievance politics, I suppose, is an addiction for some.
I try not to comment on politics but regularly fail in doing so. And so with this news report drawing a rather visceral reaction on my part, I posted my thoughts with a rather simple commentary to one of the social media networks in which I participate.
My post used one of my favorite screenshots, where the Jetsons present to the Flintstones their vision for the future, and Fred clings to his past. That, to me, summarizes the attitude of many people when it comes to the future, and to me, that applied in this case. It’s a fantastic visual image that seems to echo so much of what is going on in our world today.
As might be expected, I got some pushback, including from this fellow who suggested that I was rather wrong in my observation. He suggested that in essence, maybe Wyoming is right, as he stated that California can barely keep its grid afloat with various energy challenges.
Some back and forth resulted in these articles being sent to me, as he pushed me that perhaps the politicians in Wyoming were right.
I was familiar with these reports from last fall and was aware that many were seizing on this as proof that electric vehicles were a fool’s errand. And yet, I had not really researched in-depth what was going on with the issue, and determined I needed some expert insight.
With that in mind, I turned to the smartest man I know in the world of energy, Micheal Bedley. He and I met when I did a keynote for Siemens global energy conference in Houston some years back – the same event where the CEO of a global energy company indicated to the audience that he knew the ear of carbon was over. Last year, I had an extensive interview with him about these issues from my virtual broadcast studio.
I asked him whether California really had an issue; his response was emphatic and to the point:
The grid can easily handle EV….Especially near term….
He then included two slides from a recent presentation he did for the Bank of America, which provided some rather emphatic data:
What do we get from all this?
- The road to the future is messy, uneven, and complex. It’s most certainly true that as we see significant industry shifts
- it’s a certainty that the era of carbon (gasoline and diesel) vehicles are coming to an end
- pretty much everyone has admitted that to the case, including most major automotive companies
- with that, electric vehicles will be dominant within ten years if not sooner
- there will be a lot of investment and re-architecture of the electrical and energy grid to accommodate this shift
- there will be challenges and problems along the way
- and yet, the long-term trend is undeniable
What do I get from this? It reinforces for me that when it comes to the future, I always like to think about a trend from a long-term perspective while acknowledging short-term issues that occur along the way. That’s what I think this exchange has reinforced in my mind.
The result is that this got me thinking – as the future comes at us with greater speed and intensity, I wonder if we are losing the long-term view of where the future is taking us as short-term issues come to dominate the discussion. With that in mind, I’ve decided I’m going to launch a new trend series starting next week.
The BIG Future will take a look at the long-term trends transforming our world and what it means. I really enjoyed writing my most recent series, “23 Trends for 2023,” and this gives me another opportunity to crystallize some of my thinking. Unlike the 2023 series, this one will not involve a post every single day but will unfold on a regular basis.
You’ll certainly find them flow into my Daily Inspiration series, and as well, will be found at https://bigfuture.jimcarroll.com.