Monday, January 25, 2010

Bill Gates: "Why We Need Innovation, Not Just Insulation" (BRK.A; MSFT)

Mr. Gates' pal and bridge buddy, Warren Buffett, tucked Johns-Manville into the stable back in 2001.
Here's how J-M describes itself:
Johns Manville, a Berkshire Hathaway company, is a leading manufacturer and
marketer of premium-quality building insulation, commercial roofing, roof insulation, and specialty products for commercial, industrial, and residential applications.
JM’s product offerings include: Formaldehyde-free™ fiber glass building insulation,
commercial roofing membranes and roof insulations, filtration media, and mats and reinforcements.
A year ago we posted "
Stimulus: Tips on Trading the Caulk/Putty/Grout Complex":
...I got nuthin'. The largest caulk manufacturers are privately held.
The largest caulk gun manufacturer is a family business.
The largest silicone supplier is Momentive Performance Materials Inc. (formerly GE Silicone) controlled by an affiliate of Apollo Management.
Their slogan is "Changing the way you think about caulk".
They seem to be hurting. Here's the last 10Q....
I forgot about Johns-Manville! So we came back with "Berkshire Hathaway A Triple Play in Renewable Energy (Now with Solar-y Goodness) BRK.A; ENER" in July, '09.
Here's Mr. Gates via the Huffington Post:

People often present two timeframes that we should have as goals for CO2 reduction - 30% (off of some baseline) by 2025 and 80% by 2050.

I believe the key one to achieve is 80% by 2050.

But we tend to focus on the first one since it is much more concrete.

We don't distinguish properly between things that put you on a path to making the 80% goal by 2050 and things that don't really help.

To make the 80% goal by 2050 we are going to have to reduce emissions from transportation and electrical production in participating countries down to zero.

You will still have emissions from other activities including domestic animals, making fertilizer, and decay processes.

There will still be countries that are too poor to participate.

If the goal is to get the transportation and electrical sectors down to zero emissions you clearly need innovation that leads to entirely new approaches to generating power.

Should society spend a lot of time trying to insulate houses and telling people to turn off lights or should it spend time on accelerating innovation?

If addressing climate change only requires us to get to the 2025 goal, then efficiency would be the key thing.

But you can never insulate your way to anything close to zero no matter what advocates of resource efficiency say. You can never reduce consumerism to anything close to zero.

Because 2025 is too soon for innovation to be completed and widely deployed, behavior change still matters.

Still, the amount of CO2 avoided by these kinds of modest reduction efforts will not be the key to what happens with climate change in the long run.

In fact it is doubtful that any such efforts in the rich countries will even offset the increase coming from richer lifestyles in places like China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, etc.

Innovation in transportation and electricity will be the key factor....MORE

The above originally appeared on Bill's blog, "The Gates Notes" which intro's with:
Since leaving my fulltime job at Microsoft to dedicate more time to our foundation, a lot of people have asked me what I'm working on....
reminding me of this post from 2008:
Bill Gate's and the Retirement Planning Team

I'm not sure who the guy in the red sweater is, probably an actuary
or something.

By the way, here's the real retirement video. I know, I thought the CES vid was real.
HT (on the real retirement video): Gizmodo

Here's the retirement video Bill showed at CES, 2008: