As one of America’s leading environmental thinkers and activists, Jeremy Rifkin has spent the last forty years campaigning to reform and democratize the energy industry. But in his new book The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power is Transforming Energy, the Economy and the World, Rifkin merges green technology with the internet. And what Rifkin concludes is that the synthesis of what he calls a new “energy regime” with the distributed intelligence of the internet will create a “third industrial revolution” that will shape the 21st century.
“Great economic revolutions happen when we change energy regimes”, Rifkin told me when I caught up with him on Skype last week. But it’s what he had to say about the emergence of what he called the “mega-technology platform” of the distributed Internet energy regime that will interest both environmental entrepreneurs and thinkers. So is Rifkin correct? Is the fossil fuel revolution exhausted and are we on the brink of a third industrial revolution that will be driven by both the internet and renewable energy?