“A transition into clean energy is about making an investment in our future.”
- Gloria Reuben
Climate change needs to be taken seriously now more than ever, and 2020 has been proof for that. Bushfires in Australia, Earthquakes in Turkey, Locust and Cyclone attacks in India, and several other such horrifying natural disasters took place in 2020.
It is high time businesses, and leaders talk about it to spread awareness.
Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, is a technologist, business leader, and philanthropist. He just released his new book titled “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need,” in which he has a plan that shows how the U.S. could take the lead in the fight against climate change.
The introduction of the book is titled “51 Billion to Zero” and starts with Gates saying that we need to know these two figures to understand climate change. Further explaining what these two numbers signify. Fifty-one Billion signifies the number of tons of greenhouse gases that the world generally adds to the atmosphere every year and Zero is what we aim for.
“[We] need to revolutionize the world’s physical economy—and that will take, among other things, a dramatic infusion of ingenuity, funding, and focus from the federal government. No one else has the resources to drive the research we need,” Gates writes.
The Trump government administration didn’t take climate change seriously and even withdrew the United States from the international agreements on climate change mitigation and one such agreement was the Paris Agreement. However, the day the United States withdrew from the Paris Agreement, the then-presidential contender, now President Joe Biden, committed that he will rejoin the Paris Agreement if elected. And now that he is in administration, there are high hopes from him towards taking some actions against climate change.
There couldn’t be a better time for Bill Gates to come up with this master plan.
Image Courtesy: Gates Notes
Bill Gates's master plan involves spending $35 billion a year on clean energy research spending as opposed to the $7 billion that the government spends currently.
This $35 billion figure is a figure that equates to the government spending on medical research.
He believes that this could lead to a generation of more than 370,000 jobs while boosting a clean-energy agenda.
He says the U.S. is not the only country that underfunds clean energy research. “All the governments in the world spend about $22 billion a year on it, or around 0.02 percent of the global economy. Americans spend more than that on gasoline in a single month,” he adds.
Bill Gates further tries to make a point by saying that merely increasing funding won’t be enough.
There is a need for the creation of a central organization that is responsible for evaluating and nurturing innovative ideas like the National Institutes of Energy Innovation.
Gates suggests that the National Institutes of Energy Innovation model should be made based on the National Institutes of Health(NIH). The NIH is the largest single funder of biomedical research in the world with a mind-blowing impact.
"There are few specific lessons from his book that Bill Gates asserts should guide the creation of the National Institutes of Energy Innovation like:
An Institute of Transportation Decarbonization, for example, would have a mandate and budget to invent low-carbon fuels for hard-to-decarbonize activities such as aviation and maritime shipping. Unlike the current structure, there would be a single chain of command responsible for meeting this goal. Other institutes would have similar responsibilities and authority for research on energy storage, renewables, carbon capture and management, and so on.
Each institute should be tasked with working on every aspect of getting new products to market, from basic research to commercialization. It’s not enough to develop a new way to store electricity that works in the lab-to have any impact, it has to be practical and affordable in real-world settings. The best way to ensure that is to encourage scientists to start their research with the end-use in mind, and that there’s a system in place to make sure the best ideas make it to market and reach scale.
The institutes should be located all around the country, the way the DOE’s national labs are now. There’s no good reason to limit the benefits of the innovation economy to Washington, D.C. or major research hubs like Boston and San Francisco.”
He says we also need to increase the demand for new clean-energy tools and lower their prices.
Image Courtesy: Gates Notes
Further, one of the core ideas in his book on climate change is that he says, “...we can accomplish both through innovation and through public policies like tax incentives and clean energy standards.”
He is hopeful that legislation like the Clean Energy Innovation and Jobs Act and the American Energy Innovation Act would soon become law until the Institution comes together.
Gates is optimistic that we can avoid a climate disaster if we can wisely deploy the existing clean energy tools and make big breakthroughs every year.
Let us know your views in the comment section below.
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Ayushi is currently pursuing Chartered Accountancy. No secrets there that she loves to read! She believes words have the power of healing and is a medium that can convey like no other. She hopes to connect with people through her empathy, thoughtfulness, and by adding value to their lives.