Innovation or Insulation. Or both??
Bill Gates recently wrote an article on his personal website that has created an uproar in the building energy efficiency community.
Gates proposes that to reach an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions below 1990 levels by 2050 (the generally accepted IPCC target), we must "reduce emissions from transportation and electrical production in participating countries down to zero," which will require "innovation" and "entirely new approaches to generating power." So far, so good. Mr. Gates then asks a rather misleading and problematic question:
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?
This is where things get tricky. He argues that working towards such "modest reduction efforts" only diverts resources needed for clean energy technology R&D and distracts policymakers and the general public from the goal of zero net energy.
The building energy efficiency community has reached strongly against this viewpoint, arguing, essentially, that it's not a question of either/or, but of doing both.
So, what do you think?