Microsoft has been another politically correct company in some respects. But in so many other respects, Microsoft and its founder remained such oases of common sense and the "moderate" rational way of thinking that was mainstream in the 1980s and perhaps 1990s. I don't know how many of you agree – but Microsoft (even without Gates) doesn't quite seem to be a member of the bunch of Silicon Valley friends who talk to each other and complicate the lives of all the people who aren't fully politically obedient.
After all, Redmond doesn't sit in the Silicon Valley.
I think that his and his wife's charity has been successful and deserves to be praised but he also realizes the negative implications of this success – and of the dramatically lowered poverty rates in Africa and the world. Last September, he earned some extra points from me when he warned against the population growth in Africa as well as the dangers of the "green light" for the Africans' mass migration to Europe. This is something that could cripple Europe and that mustn't allowed, he understood very well.
Today, just hours ago, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) of Benny Peiser posted this two-minute-long excerpt from an interview with Gates (which is probably a few months old and has already been discussed on Jo Nova's blog five days ago):
The excerpt was taken from a Stanford event in November 2018, 36 minutes. The excerpt is at 8:35-10:35. I haven't watched this long video yet – and sadly enough, only 11,000 people have done it so far.
GWPF describes him as the world's "richest entrepreneur". So either GWPF is a bit wrong or Jeff Bezos has already been robbed by his ex-wife. Note that just some months ago, Bezos' wealth was safely above $100 billion while Gates was around $90 billion last March and this relative poverty of Gates' probably hasn't gotten much better since that time. Only a greedy Bezos' wife with some very aggressive attorneys can make Gates great again (MGGA), relatively speaking. ;-)
But I was too distracted.
As also discussed on the Stop These Things blog, Bill Gates obviously didn't share the enthusiasm of numerous brainwashed folks – and we primarily talk about very rich and powerful folks in this case – about the wind and solar energy.
OK, he made his negative perspective obvious at the very beginning by calling "it" (something related to the wind and solar energy but it wasn't clear whether he referred to the energy sources or the people's opinions) "disappointing". Yesterday, Václav told him something...
Now, that name (Gates' pronunciation of "Václav" is better than that of 99.9% of Americans, including Sheldon Cooper) was another reason I had to post this. Václav (Wenceslaus) is a Czech name – shared by our patron St Wenceslaus (Good King Wenceslaus) and the first modern separate Czechia's presidents, Havel and Klaus. But I had known who was this self-evidently close friend of Gates' whom Gates calls "the best energy writer in the world": Gates was referring to Václav Smil, a Czech-Canadian policy analyst and retired environmental science professor. You should be able to guess the name of the town in our beloved homeland, i.e. in the Protectorate of Nazi Germany, where Smil was born in 1943. Yes, it's my Pilsen! The same Pilsen whose FC Viktoria defeated Slavia in the most important match of the Czech League on Saturday, beat Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday in the Europa League, and let's hope it will continue.
If you are a multi-billionaire, you simply should talk to someone from Pilsen about these serious matters. Smil emigrated to the West in 1969 – like many others (including my uncle in Australia) who could afford about one more year in their fatherland after the 1968 Soviet-led occupation. OK, Smil and Gates say:
Here’s Tokyo, 27 million people, you have three days of a cyclone every year. It’s 23 GW of electricity for three days. Tell me what battery solution is going sit there and provide that power.Exactly. Just check the numbers, roughly. They talk about some metropolitan area around Tokyo so lots of people are involved. 27 million sounds fine. And each of them needs almost a kilowatt of power at each moment – most of it is not "personal energy consumption", however. 3 days is 72 hours, 72 times 23 is 1656. We need 1656 gigawatthours. Solar doesn't work, the weather is bad. The wind turbines should better be stopped and protected because the cyclone could break them. OK, you need a prepared charged battery with 1656 gigawatthours for those nice three days (or some really long and good cables from another part of the world with generous inhabitants who are willing to share a half of their energy).
One kilowatthour of Tesla-like battery used to cost $1,000 but the price went below $200 in a recent year or two and the Tesla CEO dreams about $100. Great. Let's use $200 per kilowatthour. 1656 gigawatthours is 1656 million kilowatthours which would cost 1656 million times 200 which is some $330 billion for those batteries whose only purpose is to satisfy some brainwashed morons' view that renewable energy should rule the world (and they probably reject nuclear energy as well because Greenpeace told them to do so). And it's just one Tokyo metropolitan area, some 1/300 of the world population.
One new Tesla car will always have a 100 kWh battery in the near future. 1656 GWh that you need to charge for Tokyo to work during the cyclone is 16.56 million times more than one Tesla car's battery. Just to deal with the Tokyo preparations for a cyclone, one needs to produce the same number of batteries as if you made 16.56 million cars (Tesla has only produced 0.5 million cars so far). And you may need to multiply that by 300 because Tokyo isn't the whole world. And so on. It's insane. You won't be capable of producing this many batteries. We probably don't have sufficient lithium reserves, not even in Czechia which is Europe's main lithium treasure house. (I find the usage of the Tesla batteries wonderful because they're so well-defined – capacity, weight, amount of lithium, price – and the cult around them is so ambitious. They're a very sharp tool to show the utter stupidity of this whole renewable paradigm and the morons who promote it.)
Let me make the calculation here; this paragraph was added hours after the blog post was completed. For one kWh of Tesla batteries one needs 0.9 kilograms of lithium. So just the 1656 GWh of batteries powering Tokyo above would require 1500 million kilograms or 1.5 million tons of lithium, slightly exceeding 1.3 million tons found in Czechia, Europe's greatest lithium treasure house which stores about 3% of the world's lithium reserves. While the Tokyo area is 1/300 of the world population, you could only get enough lithium on Earth for 30 such "Tokyo solutions" and then you run out of lithium. Now, what about the losses when the batteries get old and have to be recycled etc.?
Another comparison: the pair of artificial lakes Long Slopes is one of the technical wonders of Czechia. But this pumped storage hydroelectric power plant can only store 2-3 GWh of energy in the potential energy of water. You would need over 500 of such double-dams just for the "Tokyo solution"!
Bill Gates just returned from a conference in New York where all the people were very important, influential, and complete idiots, so Gentleman Mr Gates won't name the conference or the participants. And all these simpletons have been persuaded to believe that they should say that "all companies will avoid almost all [some numerical fraction of] CO2 emissions", and by declaring this plan, the market will miraculously achieve this outcome.
Little boy Bill Gates asked whether the Emperor has some clothes: "How will you make steel?" LOL, hilarious, and exactly. Note that 74% of steel is made with coal today. Almost all the rest is produced in electric arc furnaces. But you need either direct coal or lots of very concentrated energy. Just imagine how many solar panels you would need for the world's production of steel. The calculation is analogous to imagining that you literally concentrated the light from all the solar panels so that in the area of the steel mill, the iron melts.
You know, all these brainwashed idiots are impressed when they power their smartphone by some $10,000 wind turbine they installed on their roof to make their smartphone carbon-neutral. But powering a smartphone isn't the bulk of the energy demands of our civilization; it's a ludicrously tiny fraction (and most smartphones are still ultimately powered by coal, anyway). Whatever "solution" the whackadoodles pick for the carbon footprint of their phones, we need lots of steel for bridges, trains, and numerous other things. And those need lots of energy.
Gates continued to ask: "Do you have something in your desks on Wall Street that makes steel?" :-) A wonderful sense of humor. He added fertilizers and cement. "Where will they come from? Do the planes fly in the skies because you put some numbers in a spreadsheet?" If it is the newest Microsoft Excel, it must work! ;-) Gates concludes by saying that he just doesn't get that. He doesn't get the "madness of the financing of the solutions."
"There is no substitute for how the industrial economy runs today."
And that's Gates' memo, amen to that, and thanks to the non-existent God for a billionaire who hasn't completely lost his mind yet.
P.S.: I need to mention one point that I find very amusing – how some tables have turned. What do I mean? Some years ago, "our side" would often debate the watermelons ("green" on the surface, "red" Bolsheviks inside) and they would often argue that our care about the finances is irrelevant, that capitalism doesn't work, and Nature imposes conditions on us that have a higher priority than our economic interests because the laws of Nature stand above the laws of greed (OK, they have never said it so calmly and sensibly but that's roughly what they meant).
Now, it's the proponents of the carbon regulation who tend to believe in the miraculous ability of the market – while non-green skeptics like Smil, Gates, and me are telling them that the market forces are very powerful but they're not miraculous enough to beat the laws of physics and mathematics!
And in this case, although we're saying "something similar" to what the greens used to say, we are right. The production of steel and cement and the operation of airplanes requires a lot of concentrated and reliable energy that is delivered in real time. If there exists no viable alternative physical scheme where the concentrated energy comes from, then no financial schemes or Ponzi schemes can successfully replace the bulk of the existing system with an equally viable but would-be "cleaner" alternative.
One reason why the "turned tables" are imperfect – and they make sense – is a subtle difference between the "natural forces" discussed by both sides. The "greens" surely meant some huge natural forces that exist outside the human civilization; our side mainly talks about the physical phenomena and parameters that describe the anthropogenic industrial activity. But the general point is the same: laws of Nature indeed stand above the laws of economics. In other words, the laws of physics have the ability to veto economic projects, to prove that certain projects are physically or mathematically impossible.
As I suggested, another difference between the green arguments in the past and Smil's and Gates' arguments today is that the greens were wrong. Our general economy and industrial civilization is perfectly compatible with the laws of physics – and even with the survival of diverse wildlife etc. On the other hand, the dogmatic "green" economy is not compatible with the preservation of the wealthy human civilization as we know it today.