Innovation and Insulation January 29, 2010 : 3:05 PM

Last week at the Huffington Post, Bill Gates asked the following 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?”

The fact is we need to do both. Innovation is essential, and Gates is absolutely correct when he writes:

“To achieve the kinds of innovations that will be required I think a distributed system of R&D with economic rewards for innovators and strong government encouragement is the key. There just isn't enough work going on today to get us to where we need to go.”

We need massive investment, by both the private sector and the government, in green energy technology. This is one of the reasons it’s so important that the Senate act immediately to pass the clean energy and green jobs bill. And I’ve long said, we need to change laws, not just light bulbs. However, with the climate crisis unfolding at a rapid pace, we cannot sacrifice immediate and easily achievable gains in energy efficiency. Right now we need to put our energy behind every possible solution to this crisis. There is no reason we can’t walk and chew gum at the same time if the will exists.