As Warren Buffett spelled out to his investors over the weekend, the billionaire’s attitude toward climate change is not really laissez-faire, but rather one of sang-froid. He can’t be accused of doing nothing. But at the same time, his aplomb can seem a little too chill.
In his annual letter to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett, a master investor with an aversion to risk, had this to say about addressing global warming: “Inaction now is foolhardy.
“Call this Noah’s Law. If an ark may be essential for survival, begin building it today, no matter how cloudless the skies appear.”
But his letter falls short of endorsing the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is already a major problem and that the world should quickly bring carbon dioxide emissions to zero, leaving most fossil fuel reserves in the ground.
“It seems highly likely to me that climate change poses a major problem for the planet,” he wrote. “I say ‘highly likely’ rather than ‘certain’ because I have no scientific aptitude and remember well the dire predictions of most ‘experts’ about Y2K. It would be foolish, however, for me or anyone to demand 100% proof of huge forthcoming damage to the world if that outcome seemed at all possible and if prompt action had even a small chance of thwarting the danger.”