Buffet on “the greenback effect”

Warren Buffet, the famous investor and fund manager, wrote an op-ed column in the New York Times today:


In this he analyzes the debt situation of the United States with the global climatic consequences of pollution. Buffet argues that the budget deficit of the United States in 2009 has to be dealt with, and that there are a few different ways to do this.

Buffet’s analysis is similar to the one that I provide in Global Energy Transformation of the different options to deal with the need to transform large scale energy systems. Buffet emphasizes the large scale challenge that lies in front of The Obama Administration to balance the books of the United States.

The need to transform energy systems on a large scale adds another large scale endeavor, that could either be seen as a burden or as an opportunity. Realistically, there will be some of both of these, and different nations need to analyze how they can handle the transformation.

Unfortunately, it is not realistic that the market forces will be able to handle all aspects of the transformation. Government investments in technology development and implementation will become necessary. In an earlier column by CEO of General Electric, Jeff Immelt, and venture capitalist John Doerr, the need for government involvement was emphasized, for the United States to be able to take a leading position in green technology areas.

The financial and fiscal challenge of the next few years needs to be analyzed in combination with the need to develop and implement sustainable technologies. There is no other option than to take a complete view of the challenges, nation by nation.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 by Mats Larsson