Innovation is a key to tackling carbon emissions, and governments should be encouraged to invest more than what they have done, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has said.
In a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua news agency, Gates, also co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, cited many sources of emissions like steel and cement factories, and the way people grow rice, make fertilizer and raise livestock, saying the world can not skip over any of these to reach zero emissions.
“To solve these problems, innovation is a key,” he said, noting that the basic R&D is a huge area for cooperation, especially the most difficult areas such as making green hydrogen very cheap to produce green steel or green fertilizer.
“We’re all looking forward to Glasgow in November, and we hope to see a lot more discussion about the innovative tools,” Gates said, adding that without innovation, even rich countries can not afford to do it.
Gates is going to publish his new book titled “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need” on Tuesday. In the book he suggests some concrete steps that individuals, governments and companies can take to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions.
“In my book, I’ll share what I’ve learned from more than a decade of studying climate change with experts and investing in the innovations we’ll need to address it,” he said.
Gates expressed the hope that by doing a book, the world can come up with a plan that involves a lot of innovation, a lot of cooperation between different countries, and a lot of very innovative policies.
During the interview, the US billionaire philanthropist said electric vehicles will absolutely have a future, even though it is only a modest percentage of car sales today, citing General Motors’s plan to stop making gasoline-powered passenger cars by 2035.
He mentioned many lessons learned from the electric vehicle industry, saying better results may be achieved if a lot of those subsidies are shifted into these more difficult areas.
Among the new energy categories, Gates said, he favours nuclear power most, which enjoys advantages in transmission and maintaining reliability. As nuclear plants are becoming safer and cheaper, he added, it could have a role to play, because it is always available, no matter what the weather.
He said no doubt wind and solar will be a gigantic part of the future electricity generation, but unless there is a miracle of storage, sources like nuclear that do not depend on the wind or sun are necessary.