Bill McKibben on Bill Gates new book. It is a disappointment to report that this book turns out to be a little underwhelming. Gates — who must have easy access to the greatest experts the world can provide — is surprisingly behind the curve on the geeky parts, and he’s worse at interpreting the deeper and more critical aspects of the global warming dilemma. Gates’s current-day snapshots of the “Green Premiums” you need to pay for clean energy don’t mean as much as he thinks they do: Especially since storage batteries are now dropping in price on a similar curve, it’s clear that the imperative is to install as much solar (and wind power, which is on the same price trajectory) as fast as humanly possible, since if we don’t make huge progress in the next 10 years scientists have made clear we can kiss the targets we set in Paris goodbye. One wishes Gates had talked, for instance, with Stanford’s Mark Jacobson, whose team has calculated how almost every country on earth could go to 80 percent renewable energy by 2030. If he had, he might have understood more clearly that the things that really interest him — advanced nuclear power, for instance, where he describes his considerable investments — are more about mopping up: He’s absolutely right that we should be investing in research across a wide list of technologies because we may need them down the line to help scrub the last increments of fossil fuel from the system, but the key work will be done (or not) over the next decade, and it will be done by sun and wind.
New York Times 15th Feb 2021 read more »
Bill Gates is splashed on magazine covers across the world this week with his plan to solve climate change. But his new book ignores the fact that the same system which made him rich is the one killing the planet. We can’t rely on Bill Gates to solve the climate crisis, but nor can we rely on Joe Biden. The majority of people on the planet—the ones who will be harmed most by climate breakdown—have to mobilise to demand a different way of organising society: one based on meeting the needs of the many, rather than the greed of the few.
Tribune 15th Feb 2021 read more »