Bill Gates, the mega-billionaire who helped spark the computer revolution will Microsoft, recently met with Donald Trump and later pronounced him the second coming of John F. Kennedy. Just as JFK sparked the race to the moon, Trump may well spark a race to innovation in a broader sense. Gates may be thinking about his latest venture, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, designed to develop technologies that would help to ameliorate the effects of climate change.

The areas of interest the new fund will invest it range from fusion energy to dealing with cow flatulence, a matter of concern for California regulators and a headache for dairy farmers in that state.

What the approach the incoming Trump administration will take regarding climate change, the theory that human generated carbon dioxide is causing the Earth’s temperature to rise, is unclear. Trump has declared that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.

But he has also suggested that he is open-minded on the subject. Trump’s pick for Energy Secretary, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, helped to spark a wind energy revolution in the Lone Star State. In any case, Trump is going to push for more development of fossil fuels to make America energy independent.

Even the most strident climate change skeptic, and more of them exist even in the scientific community than is generally reported, is likely to approve of research and development in alternate energy, especially if it is done with private money.

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Donald Trump Renewable Energy

The key to cheap energy is competition among various energy technologies. Right now natural gas is winning due to the fracking boom. However, wind and solar are getting more mature and affordable. Nuclear is likely to get more support in the new administration. And if practical fusion energy ever comes to past, the economics of energy change forever.

How all of this will be affected by the new president remains to be seen.

Ever the deal maker, Trump may well buy off the climate change community by ramping up research and development as he cuts subsidies to Renewable Energy. Then the commercial sector can pick up new energy technology and bring it to the market when it makes economic sense.

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