“I plan to spend much of my time in 2021 talking to world leaders on both climate change and COVID-19,” said Bill Gates.
On February 16, billionaire, philanthropist, Microsoft founder Bill Gates published his latest book titled: “How to avoid a climate disaster”. to avoid a climate catastrophe”).
Gates is famous for his predictions about the future, like a global pandemic COVID-19 he saw 6 years ago. In a 2015 TED Talk, Gates called on countries to work together to prepare for a pandemic that could strike at any time.
Now, with COVID-19 under control – thanks in part to the many efforts of Bill Gates and the charity that bears his name – the billionaire has turned to a new concern. He thinks the world should prepare for a possible climate disaster, and that it is best that we work together to find a way to prevent it.
The excerpt from the new book below can be considered as Bill Gates’s letter to leaders and people around the world. In it, he thinks lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic can be used to respond to climate change and avoid a future disaster for humanity:
As of February 2021, COVID-19 has claimed the lives of more than 2.2 million people around the world. The pandemic has changed the way we work, the way we live and the way we communicate in society.
But at the same time, 2020 is also a pivotal year that gives us new hopes on climate change. The United States is poised to return to leading the world in this regard after Joe Biden was elected president. And China has also committed to an ambitious goal to be carbon neutral by 2060.
In 2021, the United Nations will meet again in Scotland for another major summit on climate change. Of course, none of these moves can guarantee that we will make any progress in tackling climate change. But the opportunity is still open from there.
I plan to spend much of my time in 2021 talking to world leaders on both climate change and COVID-19. I will make it clear to them that many of the lessons from the pandemic apply to climate change as well. For example, the values and principles that guide our approach to the pandemic.
First, we need international cooperation. The phrase “we have to work together” is easy to think of as cliché, but it’s true. As governments, researchers, and pharmaceutical companies work together during the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has made significant progress — for example, vaccine development and testing has improved. done in record time.
And when we don’t learn from each other and instead demonize other countries, or refuse to accept that masks and social distancing will slow the spread of the virus, we’ve only pulled ourselves together. prolong his own misery.
The same holds true for climate change. If the rich countries just focus on reducing their own greenhouse gas emissions without considering sharing clean technologies for everyone, we will never get to zero carbon either. .
In that sense, helping other countries is not only selfless, it also serves our own interests. We all have a reason to bring emissions to zero and help other countries do the same. Temperatures won’t stop rising in Texas, unless emissions stop rising in India.
Second, we need to let science – indeed interdisciplinary science – guide our efforts. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve looked to biology, virology, and pharmacology, as well as political science and economics — ultimately, deciding on the equitable distribution of vaccines is a political action.
And just as epidemiology tells us about the risks of COVID-19 but doesn’t tell us how to prevent it, climate science also tells us why we need to change. change course but don’t say how we should do it.
To do that, we have to rely on engineering, physics, environmental science, economics, etc.
Third, our solutions must meet the needs of the hardest-hit groups. With COVID-19, the people suffering the most are those with the fewest options – such as being unable to work from home or take the time to care for themselves or their loved ones. And most of them are people of color, low-income people.
In the United States, Blacks and Latinx people are much more likely to contract the coronavirus and die than whites. Black and Latinx students are also less likely to study online. Among those hospitalized for treatment, the death rate from COVID-19 is more than four times higher among the poor. Closing these gaps will be key to controlling the virus in the United States.
Globally, COVID-19 has erased much of the progress made after decades of efforts to reduce poverty and disease. As governments move to respond to pandemics, they must pull people and money away from other priorities, including vaccination programs.
A study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation shows that by 2020, vaccination rates will drop to a 1990s low. We’ve lost 25 years of progress in just 25 weeks.
Wealthy nations, once generously devoted to global health, will now need to be even more generous to make up for this loss. The more they invest in strengthening health systems around the world, the more prepared we will be for the next pandemic.
In the same way, we need to plan a precise transition to a zero-emission future. People in poor countries need help to adapt to a warmer world.
And richer nations will need to admit that such an energy transition will be difficult for communities that depend on today’s energy system: those with a mining industry, for example. coal, cement production, steelmaking or automobile manufacturing are the main industries.
In addition, many people whose jobs depend indirectly on these industries — as coal and fuel stocks decrease, for example, there will be fewer jobs for truckers and railroad workers. A significant portion of the economy and the working classes will be affected. Therefore, there is a need for a transition plan for those communities.
Ultimately, we can do things that both help rescue economies from the COVID-19 disaster, and spark innovation to avoid a climate catastrophe. By investing in clean energy research and development — R&D — governments can spur economic recovery as well as help reduce emissions.
While it’s true that R&D spending has the biggest impact in the long run, it also has immediate effects: This money creates jobs quickly. In 2018, U.S. government investment in all areas of research and development directly and indirectly created more than 1.6 million jobs, generated $126 billion in employee income, and contributed contribute $39 billion in state and federal taxes.
R&D is not the only area where economic growth is linked to zero-carbon innovation. Governments can also help clean energy companies grow by adopting policies that reduce the Green Premium and make it easier for green products to compete with fossil fuels.
And they can use funding from their COVID-19 relief package for things like scaling renewable energy deployments and building integrated grids.
2020 is a big and tragic setback. But I’m optimistic that we’ll have COVID-19 under control by 2021. And I’m optimistic that we’ll make real progress on climate change — because the world has never committed before. solve this problem as powerful as it is now.
When the global economy suffered a severe downturn in 2008, public support for climate change action plummeted. People at the time simply didn’t expect to be able to deal with both crises at the same time.
This time it’s different. Although the pandemic has devastated the global economy, support for action on climate change remains as high as it was in 2019. It seems our emissions are no longer the problem they are. We are ready to let go.
The question now is: What should we do with this momentum? For me, the answer was clear. We should spend the next decade focusing on the technologies, policies and market structures that will put us on the path to zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Other than spending the next 10 years dedicated to helping humanity achieve this ambitious goal, it’s hard for me to think of what I’ll do next after the tumultuous 2020 has passed.
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