Climate change is by definition a global challenge, and in his new book,“如何避免气候灾难”Bill Gates describes solutions that require an all-hands response including government, companies, institutions and individuals.
But as one of the world’s wealthiest people, an outspoken booster of tech innovation, the largest private owner ofU.S. farmland, and someone who admits to having a Paul Bunyan-sized carbon footprint, Gates is also taking steps personally to help address greenhouse gas emissions.
When I talk to people about climate change, I almost always get asked the same question: What can I do to help? Here are some actions individuals can take to move us closer to a zero-carbon future:https://t.co/ALBni7g2IP
— Bill Gates (@BillGates)February 19, 2021
But even with Gates’ increasing investments in climate-related initiatives, critics point to shortcomings in his actions, such as his foundation’s struggles to make good on his commitment todivest from fossil fuel interestsand his recent investment in a私人喷气公司。
In a recent interview about his book, I asked Gates how he viewed his role in the climate crisis, the status of TerraPower and his thoughts on geoengineering — the controversial strategy of helping cool the planet through man-made alterations of the atmosphere. Here are five takeaways from that conversation:
“这就是我们专家的地方 - 我们的疟疾团队，我们的疫苗工厂队 - 这就是我们要待犯的地方，”盖茨说。“而且回报是，这是一种影响是现象。这也恰及，因为孩子们更健康地长大，他们的父母选择有更少的孩子。因此在改善健康和获取自愿计划生育工具之间，与气候有一种关系。
While massive, Gates’ wealth — currently estimated at about1240亿美元— can’t fix global warming.
“In the case of climate change, even the money that I have, if it was all applied in this direction — I put in $2 billion so far and I’ll put in another $2 billion over the next five years — that’s not enough to solve it. The role of high-risk investing and philanthropy and creating programs like[Breakthrough Energy’s] Fellows and Ventures and Catalyst......慈善事业的作用是开始出现问题，但它真正的政府政策[那]必须携带这一点。“
“Geoengineering, we don’t know enough about what the side effects of that would be, and so it is interesting. And at the very least we should understand the problems so that nobody goes and does it unilaterally, because the atmosphere is this important shared resource.
In some extreme case, if things got a lot worse quicker than we expect, you might use it to buy yourself 10 or 20 years of the negative effects. But even then, getting the right type of government consensus on whether to do it would be difficult. Getting the people in the lab to figure out some of what works, what we don’t understand about global weather effects, I think that is constructive, but it’s very small money. Nothing compared to what I’m putting into other climate areas.
Widespread, green-tech advances in transportation, electricity, agriculture, construction and heating and cooling systems are next-level difficult, and Gates is studying up on innovation.
But now we’re talking about a part of the economy that’s physically the largest. Very little R&D, very little change over the last few decades. And yet we’re saying in 30 years, we’re going to change it very, very dramatically. So it’s certainly way harder than the advances that have taken place in other areas.
I do think that the template of accelerating innovation by finding smart people and having risk capital and funding basic R&D and creating market-based price signals, I think those apply very much. I’ve had to learn about these new areas, reading a lot of books and meeting a lot of experts. But my sense of how you drive innovation is part of what I’m bringing to this, suggesting that we can have a plan to go along with the goal and the energy that the advocates are putting out.”
Gates is bullish on nuclear and eager for his Bellevue-based company TerraPower to build a demo plant.
It’s the only from-scratch reactor design that’s been done going back to the 1950s, where we can use digital tools to simulate any problem and really optimize all these components. Because nuclear power, despite all the waste and safety and proliferation concerns, the main reason it’s failing right now is that the reactors have gotten so costly to build. They’re just not competitive, particularly in a place where natural gas is so incredibly inexpensive.”