Bill Gates: You’ll never solve climate change by asking people to consume less

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  • And climate change advocates often advocate using less and less consumption as a potential solution to climate change – decline, it is often called. According to Bill Gates this idea is bizarre.
  • “I don’t think it’s realistic to say that people are going to completely change their lifestyles because of concerns about the climate,” Gates told Akshat Rathi in an episode of the Bloomberg podcast Zero, which published Thursday. Happened.
  • Gates said the only real solution is to find better and cheaper alternatives.

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Greenhouse gas emissions are driving climate change, and those emissions are coming from every sector of the global economy: electricity, manufacturing, transportation, agriculture, industrial processes. Collectively, greenhouse gas emissions have generally been climbing for decades, Activists often advocate using less and less consumption as a potential solution to climate change. fallIt is often called

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According to Bill Gates, who founded it, the idea is bizarre. decisive energyAn investment fund for climate technology and innovation in 2015, and published “How to Avoid Climate Disaster” in 2021.

“I don’t think it’s realistic to say that people are going to completely change their lifestyles because of concerns about the climate,” Gates told Akshat Rathi in an episode. Bloomberg Podcast, “Zero,” which was published on Thursday. The interview was recorded before the Inflation Reduction Act was passed in August.

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“You can have a cultural revolution where you’re trying to throw everything, you can create a North Korean-type situation where the state is in control. Besides the huge central authority to make the people just obey, me The collective action problem seems to be not completely solvable,” Gates said.

The billionaire technologist said that most individuals are not going to change their personal behavior in ways that make them less comfortable to benefit from a global problem.

Gates said, “Anyone who says we’re going to tell people to stop eating meat, or stop having a nice house, and we’ll fundamentally change human desires, I think that’s very difficult. ” “You can make a case for it. But I don’t think it’s realistic for it to play a central role at all.”

Gates said that even if countries and individuals that have enough abundance of their lives are able to make cuts, it will not be enough reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to adequately curb climate change. He said Gates himself pays $9 million annually to cover his greenhouse gas emissions.

Gates said, “But having some rich countries, some rich companies and some rich individuals buy their way around to say they are not part of the problem, it has nothing to do with solving the problem.” “

In addition, there are many other issues competing for attention and dollars, including the global pandemic, rising health care costs, aid to poor countries for issues other than climate change, and the war in Ukraine.

“People who are in the climate zone may not realize how many things are competing for the modest amount of increased resources society has,” Gates said. “And it’s not like many people set out to do worse because of climate requirements.”

According to Gates, the solution is creating better technological alternatives where it’s the same price or cheaper to meet the same goal in a climate-conscious way. Gates has long talked about how something is traditionally done and the way it should be done in a decarbonized manner as “green premium”. According to Gates, to make meaningful change on climate change, that green premium would have to be gradually reduced and then eliminated across all sectors of the economy.

In an effort to offset that green premium, Gates’ investment fund, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, puts money into early-stage startups that are working to create new avenues for producing things or new ways of doing things.

During the interview, Gates indicated that Breakthrough Energy Ventures will raise a third fund by next year to continue investing in these climate startups and accelerate growth. He also indicated that Breakthrough Energy will raise funds to invest in later-stage companies as well. “Even as the enthusiasm in investing in tech and climate companies is a bit low, I still think we will be able to raise money,” he told Rathi.

Also important, the path to decarbonization is not always a direct path to progress away from fossil fuels. The war in Ukraine and Europe’s efforts to reduce its reliance on energy from Russia have shown that big decarbonization goals to care for the people can be a temporary setback.

“When people say to me, ‘Hey, we love your climate stuff, because we can tell Putin we don’t need them.’ I say, ‘Yeah, 10 years from now. Call him and tell him you don’t need him,'” Gates said.

Between now and then, the EU may need to fall back on fossil fuels. Gates said, “Should you reopen coal plants? Perhaps. These practicalities are very important. Should the Netherlands gas field reopen? Maybe so. It’s a very difficult set of tradeoffs. Very unpredictable. Is.” “In the short term, you just have to find a solution, even if it means emissions are going to go up. The sooner the war ends, the better. But there’s a lot of thought that goes into how to end it.”

However, in the long run, according to Gates, the only possible solution is to find new ways to support people. “I’m looking at what the world has to do to get to zero, not using the climate as a moral crusade,” he said.

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