The green bubble has burst, bad news for the 50,000 people descending on Rio de Janeiro this week for yet another United Nations conference, but much worse news for the entrepreneurs and workers displaced or still riding the rapidly failing green industry's economic slipstream.
Despite significant hype, green sources of energy like windmills have failed to get serious backing from investors, governments or consumers as a resurgent hydrocarbon industry gains supporters.
Greenness turned out to be like the dot-com fad, the technology prosperity and the housing financing, in that it has been unable to sustain its momentum and enthusiasm.
What makes the green bubble unique is that it has collapsed because of the new rise of hydrocarbons.
The economics of greenness are collapsing in the West, as all bubbles do, but the new surge for oil, gas and drill-baby-drill is everywhere you look.
And the collapse of the green bubble is leaving a lot more of a sour taste than its predecessors. When the dot-com bubble burst, at least it left us the internet to develop in a rational manner.
Pricking the tech bubble hurt investors but we got terrific cameras and the iPhone.
The green bubble has given us... er, help me out here.
The collapse of solar power is leading the bubble bursting, and those huge, bird-slaughtering windmills are close behind.
Electric car sales trail bacon-flavoured ice cream. The Prius? Please. The first patent on a hybrid car was in 1909.
To try to keep alive the illusion of the green economy, the US economy has been forced under orders of the White House to redefine "green jobs".
The driver of a 20-year-old diesel bus has a green job because he is in "an industry targeted to deliver green services". Bicycle salesmen have green jobs.
Even with such cynical statistical manipulation, a meticulous survey in the US state of Minnesota found that just 2.4% of workers are in the green economy, with numbers falling monthly.
As green jobs have failed to materialise in the past few years of huge government subsidies and massive media propaganda, brown jobs have expanded rapidly _ despite media opposition and attempts by governments, particularly in the West, to interfere.
Still mired in a recessionary malaise, the United States has created almost all its job spurts in the past five years in the hydrocarbon industry. States that have ignored the Obama administration and allowed oil and gas drilling have created tens of thousands of new, lucrative, usually high-paying jobs _ Texas, for example, and Colorado, the Dakotas, even New York.
So far as Asia is concerned, the hydrocarbon is king again. Think of a big, prosperous green industry in Thailand. Now think PTT. The best-known green industry in the country is Bangchak Petroleum.
China has released statistics that it is growing its strategic stockpile of oil, buying up a 100-day supply.
And of course Beijing continues to be willing to go to war with the Philippines simply because the Spratly Islands might be covering up underwater oil.
Last week, the government of Canada, previously best known as a synonym for "nice", kept members of parliament legislatively locked up for 24 hours of debate and votes that wound up in one of the worst setbacks for greens, ever.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper set Canada on a new course which will exploit, extract and sell the oil under the Alberta tar sands, where reserves rival Saudi Arabia's in size.
And here's the thing _ Canada's awesome, ominous Omnibus Bill C-38 pushes green activists and advocacy groups out of the way in unprecedented fashion.
The conservative government promised to subject the greens to actual laws of transparency and accountability on where they get their money and how they spend it.
Mr Harper is sick of people who "would like to see Canada be one giant national park for the northern half of North America".
It is evident the economics of green haven't worked. Green cars are still hideously expensive, green power generators ditto, plus they don't work very well.
Dot-com, tech and housing bubbles were at least self-sufficient during their own half-lives. But taxpayers are sick of propping up "promising" green industries that collapse without any benefit.
The rise and rise of greenness is finished, as surely as disco madness.
After this week's Rio successful party and hand-wringing political failure, the next UN Framework Convention on Climate Change of the fast-dying series will be called COP 18/MOP 8. It will be held in November, in Qatar. Nothing will happen there, either, because Mr Obama isn't going, and almost all heads of state won't be there with him.
There is terrific symbolism, however, in holding a climate conference in Qatar, the world's biggest per-capita emitter of carbon dioxide on the planet. When you're sitting on so much fuel naturally, there's not much impetus to switch to solar power.
About the author
- Writer: Alan Dawson
Position: Online Reporter