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You cannot solve climate change by asking people to consume less, says Bill Gates

You cannot solve climate change by asking people to consume less, says Bill Gates

The release of greenhouse gas emissions contributes to climate change, and these emissions come from all sectors of the global economy: electricity, manufacturing, transportation, agriculture, and industrial processes. Greenhouse gas emissions have been steadily increasing for decades. Consuming less is frequently advocated by activists as a possible solution to climate change.

According to Bill Gates, who founded Breakthrough Energy, climate technology and innovation investment fund, in 2015 and published How to Avoid Climate Catastrophe in 2021, that idea is out of this world.

“I don’t think it’s realistic to say that people are going to completely change their way of life because of climate concerns,” Gates told.


“You can have a cultural revolution trying to overturn everything, you can create a North Korean situation where the state is in control. Aside from the huge central authority to get people to just obey, I think the problem of collective action is simply not solvable,” Gates said.

Most people won’t change their individual behaviors in ways that make them less comfortable in favor of a global issue, the billionaire technologist says. “Anyone who says we’re going to tell people to stop eating meat or stop having a nice house and we’re just going to change human desires, I think that’s too difficult,” Gates said. “You can work for this. But I don’t think it’s realistic that it plays an absolutely central role.”

Even if countries and individuals have enough wealth in their lives and are able to reduce their emissions, reducing greenhouse gas emissions will not be enough to sufficiently mitigate climate change, Gates said. Gates himself pays $9 million a year to offset his own greenhouse gas emissions, he said.


“But just having a few rich countries, a few rich companies, and a few rich individuals buying so they can say they’re not part of the problem, that has nothing to do with solving the problem,” he declared.

There are also a number of other issues vying for attention and money, including the global pandemic, rising health care costs, and helping poor countries facing issues other than climate change. climate, as well as the war in Ukraine.

“People working in the climate space may not realize how many things are competing for the modest amount of increased resources available to society,” Gates said. “And that not many people are willing to be worse off because of the climate requirements.”

The solution, according to Gates, is to create better technology alternatives where it is at the same price or cheaper to achieve the same goal in a climate-conscious way. Gates has long talked about the gap between the cost of how something is done conventionally and how it should be done in a low-carbon, “green premium” way. To make meaningful change to climate change, that green premium needs to be slowly reduced and then phased out across all sectors of the economy, Gates said.

In an effort to close that green award, Gates’ investment fund, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, is investing money in early-stage startups that are working to create new ways of producing things or new ways of doing things.

Over the course of the interview, Gates hinted that Breakthrough Energy Ventures would raise a third fund next year to continue investing and accelerating the development of these climate startups. He also indicated that Breakthrough Energy will likely raise funds to invest in companies at a later stage as well. “Even though the exuberance of investing in technology and climate companies has died down a bit, I still think we can raise money”.

It is important to note that the path to decarbonization is not always a straight path away from fossil fuels. The war in Ukraine and Europe’s efforts to reduce its energy dependence on Russia have shown that there can be temporary setbacks in caring for people on larger decarbonization goals.

Source: Daily Times

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