Warren Buffet Challenged by Gen-Zer on Energy Transition

May 8, 2023

Iowa High School student (what’s next after Gen Z?) asks a bold and cogent question at the Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders meeting.
Warren Buffet’s famously profitable firm has big investments in wind energy, particularly in Iowa – but not moving fast enough for a rightfully impatient young person.

Buffet’s VP and close advisor, Charlie Munger, expresses typical Old Guy skepticism about climate change, but allows that we should probably be making the energy transition anyway, to conserve fossil resources. Buffet rightly mentions NIMBY-ism as a significant barrier to clean energy deployment.


4 Responses to “Warren Buffet Challenged by Gen-Zer on Energy Transition”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    Generation Alpha comes after Generation Z.


    I recently heard an analyst on Marketplace who thinks generations should be divided by the technology they grew up with (rotary dial phones, anyone?). Technology is rolling so fast that I don’t think that will be feasible.

  2. Glen Koehler Says:

    I’m not that young myself, but that old coot claiming climate change is overblown and a field full of nonsense is an embarrassment to any generation. How is it that we tolerate fossil fools who refuse to acknowledge the immensely strong consensus that we are altering the climate (with fossil fuel burning and other sources of greenhouse gas pollution) are in charge of managing billions of dollars of assets?

    I guess the fact that he got some applause for his truculent stupidity indicates that the self-imposed ignorance he demonstrates will still be at play in resource decisions for a while longer. The details are complex, but the basic tenets of climate science and climate change are not that hard to understand for anyone who will listen. Let he that has ears listen. As for the rest, as a wise man once said “Let the dead bury the dead”, don’t waste too much time with those committed to the status quo at all costs.
    Or as Bob Dylan put it going on 50 years ago:
    “Your old road is rapidly agin’
    Please get out of the new one
    If you can’t lend your hand
    For the times they are a-changin’ “

  3. John Oneill Says:

    Another old codger from that neck of the woods is James Hansen, who grew up in
    Iowa, and got his PhD in physics at the University there.
    Buffett touts his companies’ investments in wind, but he has been quoted in the past as saying the only reason he invests in it is for the tax rebates. Gencos associated with Buffett also own nuclear plants that make about ten percent of the power in Wisconsin and in Florida – and did in Iowa, too, till 2020, when the reactor there was shut after a derecho damaged the cooling towers. (The distinctive hyperboloid towers at some nuclear – and many fossil fuel – plants have walls only about four inches thick – their strength is from their shape. The containment dome walls are about five feet thick.)
    Buffett is also invested in Terrapower, the company planning to build a fast reactor in Wyoming. This is designed to take over from a coal plant scheduled for retirement. It doesn’t power a turbine directly, but stores its heat output in molten nitrate salt, as do some solar thermal plants. This should allow it to store energy when Berkshire Hathaway’s wind farms are saturating the grid, then produce about 150% of nameplate power when the wind drops.

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