How To Avoid A Climate Disaster is filled with useful, actionable information on how to stop climate change, and condenses enormous amount of data into understandable, clearly written chapters.
Yes, we are facing a climate disaster. Cutting back on driving, recycling, using less energy are all good and worthy goals. However they won’t get us anywhere close to where we need to be. Which is zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Yes, zero.
To do this, we need to electrify everything, and use zero emission electricity to do it. This includes ramping up electricity production for the billions in third-world areas who will be electrifying and coming online soon.
We will do this by creating breakthrough tehnologies in multiple areas at once. No one said this would be easy, however it must be done and will create enormous new technologies and businesses too.
Technologies needed include grid scale electicity storage that lasts a year, hydrogen produced without emitting carbon, zero-carbon fertilizer, cement, plastics, and steel, plant and cell based meat and diary, next-gen nuclear fission (I can already hear the squealing!), nuclear fusion, and advanced biofuels and electrofuels.
Gates discusses all of these, and how they can be implemented.
We also must make sure that everyone benefits. From the book.
“It would be immoral and impractical to try to stop people who are lower down on the economic ladder from climbing up. We can’t expect poor people to stay poor because rich countries emitted too many greenhouse gases, and even if we wanted to, there would be no way to accomplish it. Instead, we need to make it possible for low-income people to climb the ladder without making climate change worse. We need to get to zero—producing even more energy than we do today, but without adding any carbon to the atmosphere—as soon as possible.”
From Gates Notes:
It wasn’t enough to deliver cheap, reliable energy for the poor. It also had to be clean. Within a few years, I had become convinced of three things:
To avoid a climate disaster, we have to get to zero greenhouse gas emissions.
We need to deploy the tools we already have, like solar and wind, faster and smarter.
And we need to create and roll out breakthrough technologies that can take us the rest of the way.
Gates is a technophile. Me too. Technology can and will get us out of this mess. We will all need to pull together. Because we have to! The alternative is indeed a climate disater.