The world’s richest man thinks only socialism – and skyrocketing gas prices – can save the world from climate change.
Bill Gates, whose net worth is roughly $80 billion, told the Atlantic for its November issue that only massive intervention by world governments can head off environmental disaster.
“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,” Gates said. “Without a substantial carbon tax, there’s no incentive for innovators or plant buyers to switch. Since World War II, U.S.-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 U.S. and Europe have to solve CO2 emissions, and when they do, hopefully they’ll make it cheap enough for everyone else.”
The billionaire’s rhetoric nearly matches then-Senator Obama’s from 2008, when he told the San Francisco Chronicle’s editorial board of his energy policy, “If somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them, because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted. Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. […] Because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it – whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to, uh, retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.”
The magazine said Gates “brusquely” cast aside criticism that governments are inefficient.
“The push is the R&D. The pull is the carbon tax,” said Gates. “Yes, the government will be somewhat inept, but the private sector is in general inept. How many companies do venture capitalists invest in that go poorly? By far most of them.”
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh said Monday that Gates sounded like a character out of “The Twilight Zone,” but surmised there was a practical reason behind the socialist rhetoric.
“There is an explanation for this. … Let me share with you a theory that I have, ladies and gentlemen […] to explain why people like Gates and Buffett and a number of these other super billionaires talk like Marxist liberals all the time. It is to keep people away from their money. It is to send the message, ‘Hey, we don’t threaten you, leave me alone. I’m spending all my money on philanthropy. I’m giving money to AIDS. I’m giving money to Africa. I’m giving money to global warming. I’m giving money to the arts. I’m giving money to support gay marriage and transgenders. Leave me alone.'”
Gates said he would like the U.S. to “triple” the amount of taxpayer-funded R&D to $18 billion a year. He also pledged to invest $2 billion to help make the U.S. fossil-free by 2050.