EVERY YEAR, THE WORLD’S TECHNO-ELITE gather at the TED Conference in California to talk about the future of everything. The event’s speakers tend to focus on technologies and ideas that are, as they put it, “worth spreading.” They aim to influence. The audience is wealthy and smart, so a good idea presented well can catapult to a very powerful kind of niche fame. So, when famed venture capitalist John Doerr stepped onto the stage in 2007 and cried about global warming, it signaled that something very strange was about to happen to environmentalism in America. “I’m really scared,” he began, waving an index card. “I don’t think we’re going to make it.”
Over the next seventeen minutes, Doerr revealed his own come-to-Jesus ...