WSJ ECO:nomics Conference Roundup

by | Mar 6, 2009

wsj-economics2ECO:nomics, a conference hosted March 4-6 by The Wall Street Journal in Santa Barbara, Calif., has generated much discussion.

Here is a smattering of the coverage so far.

Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally admitted that his company has some work to do to win back customers. He said Ford’s vehicles will trend toward light cars instead of trucks and SUVs, responding to rising energy prices and consumer demand. Here’s a video of his talk.

Autonation Inc., a publicly traded auto dealership group, will order only 60 percent of the amount of new vehicles as normal until it sees the U.S. auto market improve, CEO Mike Jackson said on Thursday, according to this Reuters story.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt responded to criticisms of his company’s national energy plan, saying that while it would cost $3.5 trillion over 22 years, it would save $4.4 trillion, which is a direct impact to the bottom line. See a video here.

Unrelated to the environment, Schmidt generated some controversy when he called twitter a “poor man’s e-mail.”

A major theme underlying the conference was whether improving efficiency can solve the nation’s energy woes, according to this blog.

American utilities must retrofit their coal-fired power plants in order to capture greenhouse gas emissions, and more renewable, nuclear and other clean power sources must be added, said Michael Morris, chief executive of American Electric Power Co Inc., in this Reuters article.

Bjorn Lomborg, the Danish author of “The Skeptical Environmentalist,” insisted that people just need to spend smarter to save the world.

Attendees of the event received solar-powered, eco-friendly backpacks.

Many conferences and trade shows are starting to boost the focus on sustainable products and services. Here’s coverage of January’s Consumer Electronics Show.

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