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In 2015, Bill Gates warned in a speech that we weren’t ready for the next pandemic, and he urged action.
An infectious virus is “the greatest risk of global catastrophe,” he said. “We’ve actually invested very little in a system to stop an epidemic. Time is not on our side.”
The consequences of inaction then are playing out today: The coronavirus has infected more than 100 million people worldwide and killed more than 2.3 million.
While Gates has poured resources into fighting COVID-19, he has also begun warning of a new threat that he says will be harder to combat — climate change.
“Getting ready for the next pandemic is 20 times easier than solving climate change,” Gates, the cofounder and former CEO of Microsoft, told Insider in a recent interview.
And the price of doing nothing will be much higher, he added.
Bill Gates lays out a path to get global warming under control
But Gates, a self-described technocrat, is an optimist. He told us that we still have time to get global warming under control — and he has some ideas.
In a book set to publish later this month, Gates lays out a path to slashing emissions, largely through innovation. How to Avoid a Climate Disaster is rooted in metrics and zeroes in on sectors of the economy, such as construction and agriculture, that generate a huge amount of emissions but are harder to clean up.
A central idea in the book is what he calls green premiums, or the extra cost of using an environmentally friendly product over its conventional counterpart (think driving an electric vehicle, instead of a cheaper gas-powered car). Slashing emissions requires shrinking those green premiums, and Gates calls on innovation to help.
Last month, Insider energy reporter Benji Jones chatted with Gates over a video call about how to slow climate change through innovation — and how a new administration can help.
Their full conversation is below, edited for length and clarity.
One thing Bill Gates learned that all billionaires should know
Insider: You’ve focused much of your work on healthcare. Now you’re putting a lot of time into climate and energy. Are people in your orbit similarly motivated to take action?
Bill Gates: When you try to talk to people about global health, it doesn’t have much visibility or interest because the deaths are far away in poor countries. All the malaria deaths are in developing countries. The overwhelming portion of HIV and TB deaths are in developing countries.
With climate, people are interested, but they may underestimate the background knowledge you need in order to look into different areas of the economy that generate emissions and think about how they will change. Most people haven’t visited a steel plant, for example.
Then there’s the basic energy equation: We’re still going to use all this energy, so where’s it going to come from? We’re going to have to make our electric grid two and a half times more capable than it is today. People are kind of surprised that there really isn’t …read more
Source:: Businessinsider – Tech
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