Bill Gates has long been an environmentalist, often exposing the dangers of climate change and the potentially devastating effects it could have in the future.
Last week, Gates redoubled his commitment to the cause, but thinks telling celebs to curb their private jets is going a step too far — and won’t make any real difference.
“Anyone who says we’re going to tell people to stop eating meat or stop wanting a nice house, and we’re just going to change human desires, I think that’s too hard,” Gates told me. Akshat Rathi on the website Zero podcast by Bloomberg in response to a question as to whether new technologies were enough to fight back. “I mean, you can make a case for it. But I don’t think it’s realistic to play that absolutely central role.”
Gates said, “Without innovation, you will never solve climate change” and noted that even if the world’s richest people were told to live more sustainable lifestyles, it would yield little – the richest countries in the world are only responsible for a third of global emissions, he said.
“That [remaining] two-thirds of the emissions are quite simple in terms of calories and shelter and transportation and goods used,” Gates explains. “So the excesses of the rich countries… It may feel Calvinistically appropriate, but I look at what the world must do to get to zero, and not use the climate as a moral crusade.”
Gates recently argued with fellow billionaire Elon Musk over funding for climate change technologies after texts leaked between the two men calling on Gates to short-circuit Tesla.
“Sorry, but I can’t take your climate change philanthropy seriously if you have a huge short position against Tesla, the company doing the most to solve climate change,” Musk confirmed. text message on Twitter.
Gates responded to Musk’s accusation at the time by saying that he “gives a lot more money to climate change than Elon Musk or anyone else” and that shorting Tesla stock doesn’t hinder Musk’s capabilities in any way.
The founder of Microsoft recently published a book on the climate crisis, aptly called “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster”.
As of Monday morning, his net worth was an estimated $105 billion.