In a BBC interview about his upcoming book ‘How to Avoid a Climate Disaster’, Bill Gates described tackling climate change as the greatest feat humanity may ever accomplish.
Microsoft founder also pointed out that the current coronavirus pandemic should be seen as an incredibly easy issue compared to the topic of his book.
Gates stressed that solving the climate issue is a long-term problem that will require 30 years to be solved by bringing the level of greenhouse gas emissions from the current annual global rate of fifty-one billion tonnes down to zero.
He also emphasized that there is a promise of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind energy, in making the electricity clear of carbon.
According to Gates, the main difficulty lies in the fact that 70 percent of the global economy depends on pollutants, which, among other things, include transport systems, cement, steel, and fertilizer production.
The key is innovation
In his book, Gates maintained that an enormous amount of innovation is necessary to bring the crucial changes that will make the global economy greener.
The billionaire identified governments as institutions that should encourage and coordinate change by taking measures such as the introduction of green price signals and the investment in the development of new production technologies.
When asked how he, as someone who has a history of viewing the state as a hurdle to innovation, has now turned into a supporter of state interventions in the economy, Gates responded that he has always been in favor of the state having a certain role in the market.
Microsoft founder said that only the state can have a critical role in supporting the systems of scientific research, education, legislation, and infrastructure.
Similarly, Gates underscored that not only governments are the most ‘potent’ in tackling the climate issues but also international governmental cooperation.
In this regard, he accentuated that the U.S. Republican Party needs to accept that climate change is a real hazard to the global future.
Gates own a private plane powered by plant-based products
Moreover, Gates seemed skeptical of individual action and the ability of the market to resolve the issue by itself.
He said that it is likely that the impact of some individuals making climate-friendly decisions, such as consuming local food or reducing the use of detrimental sources of energy and transport, will be negligible.
According to the billionaire, there is a high chance that some action in other parts of the world would offset the effects of these decisions; he gave an example of an Indian government that may build new houses in which more people would use various non-sustainable sources of energy.
Regardless of that, Gates said that he tries to personally live the most environmentally-friendly life he can even if it costs him a lot more money.
He provided an example of his private plane that is powered by fuels made from plant-based products. Paying more than the U.S. $7 million per year only for his plane transport, Gates expressed a belief that using sources such as electro and biofuels is the ultimate solution to the transport-related harm to the environment.
In the end, Gates voiced his optimism about how the younger generations view the climate problem.
He contended that the energy of the youth should be utilized to bring about real change and that, even though a lot of hardships will likely accompany the process of innovation, the result may positively surprise us like it did many times in the past.