King: "How To Avoid A Climate Disaster"

Posted 5/6/21

We know Bill Gates as a founder of Microsoft and later founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. But there is a Gates we do not know so well.

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King: "How To Avoid A Climate Disaster"


We know Bill Gates as a founder of Microsoft and later founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. But there is a Gates we do not know so well; he has spent a decade investigating the causes and effects of climate change. In this recently published book, "How To Avoid A Climate Disaster," Gates gives us a clear-eyed description of the challenges the world faces from climate change.

If nothing else changes, the world will keep producing greenhouse gases, climate change will keep getting worse, and the impact on humans in all likelihood be catastrophic.

Gates says, “To stop global warming and avoid the worst effects of climate change, humans need to stop adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.” 

We are adding 51 billion tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere every year. Gates says we need to stop adding greenhouse gases and get to zero. This sounds difficult, and it will be. The world has never done anything quite this big. Yet, Gates lays out a plan to get this world to zero emissions.

Below are a few of his ideas for saving the world:

  1. Quintuple clean energy and climate-related R&D over the next decade.
  2. Make bigger bets on high-risk, high-reward R&D projects.
  3. Match R&D with our greatest needs.
  4. Work with industry from the beginning.
  5. Create incentives that will lower costs and reduce risk.
  6. Build the infrastructure that will get new technologies to market.
  7. Change the rules so new technologies can compete.
  8. Put a price on carbon.
  9. Set clean electricity and clean fuel standards.
  10. Set clean product standards.
  11. Out with the old-fossil fuels.

As Bill Gates makes clear, achieving zero emissions will not be simple or easy to do, but if we follow the plan he sets out here, it is a goal firmly within our reach.

I might add, this book is not for scientists, but for folks like us here at Silverstone. It is written in plain English and easy to understand. I will see that my children and grandchildren digest the ideas Gates lays out by reading this giant of a book.

John King is a resident of north Scottsdale.  This book review originally appeared in Bill Brown’s newsletter for the residents of the Vi at Silverstone, “The Doings on 74th Street”.