Bill Gates Says Private Sector (except him) is “Inept”

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While announcing his plan to spend $2 billion of his own wealth on green energy during an interview with The Atlantic, the Microsoft founder called on fellow billionaires to help make the US fossil-free by 2050 with similar philanthropy.

He said:

There’s no fortune to be made. Even if you have a new energy source that costs the same as today’s and emits no CO2, it will be uncertain compared with what’s tried-and-true and already operating at unbelievable scale and has gotten through all the regulatory problems.

Without a substantial carbon tax, there’s no incentive for innovators or plant buyers to switch.

Since World War II, US-government R&D has defined the state of the art in almost every area. The private sector is in general inept.

The climate problem has to be solved in the rich countries. China and the US and Europe have to solve CO2 emissions, and when they do, hopefully they’ll make it cheap enough for everyone else.

In recent years, China has surged ahead of the US and Europe in green investment, despite remaining the world’s most polluting country in terms of fossil fuels.

Between 2000 and 2012, China’s solar energy output rose from 3 to 21,000 megawatts, rising 67 per cent between 2013 and 2014. In 2014 the country’s CO2 emissions decreased 1 per cent.

Meanwhile, Germany’s greenhouse emissions are at the lowest point since 1990, and the UK has seen a decrease of 13.35 per cent in emissions over the last five years, according to official quarterly statistics from the Department of Energy & Climate Change.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. and has gotten through all the regulatory problems
    Here Bill identifies the biggest problem with ‘clean energy,’ gunvermin regulation.

    • As if any energy is “clean”. People speak of methane and cattle and how they are the largest source of methane. They have no conception of how much methane is released from the ocean floor and from lakes, not to mention the monstrous belches from the earth in areas of volcanic activity.

      Several years ago a group put pen to paper and figured what it cost to make a nuclear reactor and to keep it running. It was a losing proposition since it consumed more energy from the various sources it took to build it and to maintain it than it would produce in it’s lifetime.

      • it consumed more energy from the various sources it took to build it and to maintain it than it would produce in it’s lifetime.
        Well I have read the same about ethanol production, as an energy source anyway. Different economics come into play when used as a disinfectant or potable liquid.
        And the numbers for a nuke might work out differently if it was done as a private enterprise w/o gunvermin interference.

        • It depends on how the ethanol is made. Corn ethanol is loser. Sugar cane ethanol comes out ahead. Why? The sugar cane plant itself provides the energy to make ethanol from it. Corn requires outside energy.

          • “Sugar cane ethanol comes out ahead” – well maybe outside the US where you don’t have to pay tariffs on the stuff. Sugar prices in the US are about 2x the world market, to support the Cuban exiles in Florida. Crony capitalism at its finest.
            Hemp is still a much better ‘energy’ crop because it produces both oil and biomass.

            • Foreign made ethanol was taxed considerably to prevent more efficient ethanol makers in places where sugar cane could be grown from getting into that crony business sector run by the corn people.

              I think that tax has expired however.

          • I wonder how sweet sorghum would compare with sugar and maize?
            Probably come out somewhere between the two, but sorghum has a much wider adaptability, climate wise.

        • Ethanol production as it stands but ethanol can be made from any plant, kudzu comes to mind as well as hemp. South American countries produce ethanol cheaply. The same plant that can be used to produce ethanol can be burned to heat the process.

          East Texas farmers get to bale barditches, esp. Johnson grass that’s high in sugar. They could use it to produce fuel. This would stand true in any warm clime with enough rain.

      • Don’t worry the NGOs are set to not to allow us mundanes to eat meat. See the latest from WHO and their make the headline defining of terms.

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