Like me, you may not have had a chance to read the new book by Bill Gates, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster.
However I have read his interview with Wired magazine. I am quite sure Bill has a more educated guess than me about how to tackle this, so I was interested to see what he has to say, and here are my thoughts.
Of course, it is Bill, so it is all about data. The plan is to go from 51 billion tonnes of carbon emissions to zero, employing a method of “green premium” (the additional cost of using a green alternative), which needs to be low enough for it to make sense to switch.
He believes we have to innovate at an unprecedented pace, like we have for the pandemic. He believes we have to really tackle the hard things:
- 30% of greenhouse gases come from “making things” such as plastic, cement and steel
- 18% from growing things.
Plant and animal, we have barely looked at these issues yet.
The green premium is close with solar energy and electric cars, etc., but we are in danger of ignoring the big polluters.
He acknowledges it will take a huge investment in R&D with governments, educational institutions, businesses and the financial world working together.
Climate change has historically not been the focus of the Gates Foundation, which has traditionally worked in health (including the MRNA Vaccine technology), sanitation and agriculture.
However, he realizes it is obviously an area of great importance, and in his opinion, is without a plan. He claims you have to work backward from the goal of net zero, with his style of systems thinking to drive innovation.
He reasons there is no simple, single cure, and we need at least 10 major breakthroughs such as harnessing hydrogen and fission or fusion.
However, he is optimistic; he will be 95 in 2050 and hopes to see as many dreams come true in this field as they did for him in the computer field.
In order to share in his optimism, I have promised myself to read the book (digitally to save paper) and, in the meantime, here is a link to the article if you are interested: https://www.wired.co.uk/article/bill-gates-interview-climate-crisis
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.