Bill Gates is a big believer in the idea that humanity is making progress on some of its biggest problems. But up until recently, he hasn’t spoken much about the issue that could make poverty, disease, and violence far worse than they are today: climate change.
In his most recent Gates Notes post, he lays out his ideas for innovations that could help the world “avoid the worst climate-change scenarios while also lifting people out of poverty, growing food more efficiently, and saving lives by reducing pollution.” Check them out below.
Create incentives to innovate
The world spends billions of dollars each year on clean energy research, but it’s not even close to enough to get us out of our climate mess. Gates believes that governments should take the initiative on this, offering extensive funding for basic research.
“We need hundreds of companies working on thousands of ideas, including crazy-sounding ones that don’t get enough funding, such as high-altitude wind and solar chemical (using the energy of the sun to make hydrocarbons),” he writes. “If government research budgets open up the pipeline of innovation, not only will I expand my investments, but I believe other investors would join me in taking these risks.”
Build an energy market that actually reflects reality
Energy markets today don’t consider factors like environmental and health impacts. If they did, renewable energy could be even more competitive than it is today. “Whatever approach we take, it should create incentives to develop new energy solutions while also giving energy companies enough certainty to plan and execute the transition to zero-carbon sources,” writes Gates.
Help poor countries prepare for a warming climate
As most things do, climate change will impact the poor more than everyone else. Maybe, if we’re really smart about it, we can mitigate global warming. But poor countries should still be prepared for that not to happen. “For our part, the Gates Foundation is concentrating on one key aspect of adaptation: helping small farmers — who make up the majority of the world’s poor — adjust to hotter, more unpredictable weather by raising agricultural productivity,” Gates writes.
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