Summary How to avoid a climate disaster Book cover image

Summary How to avoid a climate disaster

- Bill Gates
ISBN-10 0241448301 ISBN-13 9780241448304
333 Flashcards & Notes
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A snapshot of the summary - How to avoid a climate disaster Author: Bill Gates ISBN: 9780241448304

  • 1 Introduction: 51 Billion to Zero

  • Bill gates describes two numbers you need to know about climate change. Which numbers and why?
    1. 51 billion
    • Fity-one billion is how many tons of greenhouse gases the world typically adds to the atmosphere every year. The figure may go up or down from year to year, but it's generally increasing. This is where we are today.
    2. Zero
    • This means what we need to aim for. To stop the warming and avoid the worst effects of climate change - and these effects will be very bad - humans need to stop adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.
  • According to Bill Gates, more people around the world are living a modern lifestyle, why is this bad for the environment?
    • Every activity in modern life - growing things, making things, getting around from place to place - involves releasing greenhouse gases. If noting else changes, the world will keep producing greenhouse gases, climate change will keep getting worse, and the impact on humans will in al likelihood be catastrophic.
  • Bill Gates believes that we can tackle climate change with various tools, why is he convinced of this?
    • We already have some tools we need, and for those we don't yet have, everything he learned about climate and technology, makes him optimistic that we can invent them, deploy them, and, if we act fast enough, avoid a climate catastrophe.
  • David MacKay (professor at Cambridge University) has researched the relationship between income and energy use, what did we conclude and what did Bill Gates do with this information?
    • The higher your income, the more energy you use
    • As a result of this graph, Bill Gates began to think about how the world could make energy affordable and reliable for the poor.
  • Earlier, Bill Gates didn't understand that we needed to get to zero. Why is that?
    • The rich countries that are responsible for most emissions were starting to pay attention to climate change, and Bill Gates thought that would be anough. He believed that his contribution would be to advocate for making reliable energy affordable for the poor.
  • According to Bill Gates, the poor have the most to gain from cheaper energy. Why is that?
    • This is because cheaper energy would mean not only lights at night but also cheaper fertilizer for their field and vement for their homes. The most of the poor are farmers who can't withstand more droughts and floods. 

  • Bill Gates describes that he admired activists, like students who were holding sit-ins to demand that their schools' endowments divest from fossil fuels but on the other hand it isn't fair to the poor countries. Why is that?
    • Gates didn't see how divesting alone would stop climate change or help people in poor countries.
      • For an exampje, India has a population of 1.4 billion people, many of them among the poorest in the world. According to Gates, it isn't fair for anyone to tell Indians that heir children couldn't have lights to study by, or that thousands of Indians should die in heat waves because installing air conditions is bad for the environment.
  • In 2015, private funding in green technology was drying up. What was the cause?
    • In 2015, private funding was drying up. Manu capital firms that had invested in green technology were pulling out of the industry because the returns were so low. They were used to investing in biotechnology and information technology, where success often comes quickly and there are fewer government regulations to deal with. Clean energy was a whole other ball game, and they were getting out.
  • What is the Breakthrough Energy Coalition that Bill Gates set up?
    • The organization known as Breakthrough Energy, includes philanthropic programs, advocacy efforts, and private funds that have invested in more than 40 companies with promising ideas.
  • What is "Mission Innovation" and how was it founded? 
    • The governments came through too, Twenty heads of state got together in Paris and committed to doubling their funding for research. Prime Minister Modi came up with the name: Mission Innovation.
    • Today Mission Innovation includes 24 countries and the European Commission (EC) and has unlocked $2.6 billion a year in new money for clean energy research, an increase of more than 50% in just a handful of years.
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