Can Bill Gates – ‘another rich guy with an opinion’ – move the needle on climate change?


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Bill Gates, “an imperfect messenger on climate change” in his own words, is calling for action from a wobbly soap box. Microsoft MSFT founder, -0.53% goes beyond seemingly small steps (putting an electric vehicle in the garage at the next trade) to embracing large multinational moves (snatching carbon from the sky with technology in which it has a stake) in his new book, “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Advances We Need,” will be published Tuesday.

“I can’t deny being a rich guy with an opinion,” writes Gates, whose personal wealth totals more than $ 100 billion and whose “Xanado 2.0” mansion outside Seattle is just one address among several in his portfolio. of personal real estate. A recent study finds that billionaires have carbon footprints that can be thousands of times higher than those of average Americans, largely due to transportation options, including private jets like the one Gates uses. Gates was considered a bigger offender than Elon Musk TSLA, -2.44%. Yet Gates has the power of the rich to reverse some of their actions. In 2020 it began using sustainable jet fuel and “will fully offset my family’s aviation emissions in 2021,” the book details. And it has invested money in solar technology and more. Read: Heliogen’s solar ‘breakthrough’, backed by Bill Gates, could replace fossil fuels in steel and other big polluting industries.Your call to rich nations to give up real beef may have brought the billionaire the Greater pain on social media as the promotion of his book progressed. But Gates’ hardcover has received serious attention once again from major media outlets, one of which, The Guardian, is tackling the longtime devotee’s print effort to health issues with an appeal. to the recently released action of Michael Mann. Mann is possibly the best known climate scientist in the world. Mann, in his “The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet,” even called out Bill and Melinda Gates and their 2016 annual letter. His letter at the time sounded a more desperate alarm (“We need an energy miracle” ) than a pragmatic practice. Gates had also long resisted getting rid of oil, at one point downplaying its effectiveness and later lamenting how difficult it was to be completely free of fossil fuels. The new book says a divestiture has occurred. For Mann, his new war targets the “inactivists” or those he believes are using new tactics of “deception, distraction and delay” to prevent the phasing out of fossil fuels. Gates does not qualify for such a label, if his own words and the courtesy that most critics show are to be believed. Bob Ward, director of policy and communications at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science, praised Gates’s view of alternative energy. “A key device used by Gates is to calculate the cost of clean alternatives relative to fossil fuels, and where they are currently more expensive, to quantify the difference as a ‘green premium,'” Ward wrote. “Then it explains how this premium can be reduced through innovation and government policies. The credibility of the strategy is bolstered by references to technologies Gates is investing his own money in, such as novel ways of capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and then storing it. “And a profile of the author from WSJ Magazine emphasizes the point of that Gates believes that approaches to date will simply not be enough, and is to be commended for moving the goalposts. According to the magazine, the crux of the Gates’ argument is that, however helpful innovations such as electric cars, solar panels, lithium-ion batteries, and plant-based hamburgers don’t go far enough. There isn’t enough land on earth to plant enough trees to offset our dependence on carbon. ” my book is that a serious climate plan, which we don’t have yet, involves mentally counting all the different sources of emissions, ”Gates tells the magazine. It must go beyond agriculture and electricity to encompass all carbon emission processes (transportation, concrete and steel production) so that we can develop green alternatives. So, for example, Gates believes that we should invent green steel. The Nation, however, believes that a super emitter is not a climate warrior. “The billionaire’s new book, a bid to be taken seriously as a climate activist, has attracted the usual worship coverage,” Tim Schwab writes for the publication. The author has previously investigated what he claims to be “self-treatment” at the Gates Foundation, as he works on health initiatives and other endeavors in the developing world. “The Precariousness of Gates’ Position in the Climate Change Debate [is] not just because of his meager credentials, unproven solutions and staggering financial conflicts of interest, “Schwab wrote,” but because of his undemocratic assertion of power, no one named or elected him as the world’s new climate czar, arrives precisely in the moment when democracy and institutions have become essential to solve climate change ”.