It's Ted talks daily. I'm Elise Hu on today's show, the philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, in conversation with Ted's global curator Bruno Chessani about his new book, which focuses on ambitious changes for the world to avoid climate disaster.
He talks through something called the green premium, lays out innovations we need to invest in and shares why younger generations are the key to getting to net zero emissions and also how his love for Bergers is changing.
This conversation is from March 20 21 and part of Countdown, Ted's Global Initiative to accelerate solutions to the climate crisis. Get involved at Countdown Dot.com.
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We've got it covered and they're all connected. Joined the six million users who stopped wasting time and started getting stuff done. Go to ODU Dotcom slash Ted to start a free trial. That's odd. Ooh, dotcom slash Ted. Bill Gates calls himself an imperfect messenger on climate because of his high carbon footprint and the lifestyle. However, he has just made a major contribution to our thinking about confronting climate change via a book, a book about decarbonising our economy and society.
It's an optimistic can do kind of book with a strong focus on technological solutions. He discusses the things we have, such as wind and solar power, the things we need to develop, such as carbon free cement or no free steel and long term energy storage. And he talks about the economics of it all, introducing the concept of green premium. The gist of the book, and really I'm simplifying here a lot, is that fighting climate change is going to be hard, but it's possible we can do it.
There is a pathway to a clean and prosperous future for all. So we want to unpack some of that with the author of the book, Bill Gates. Welcome back to that. Thank you, Bill. I would like to start where you start from the title of the book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, which of course, presumes that you are heading towards a climate disaster if we don't act differently. So what is the single most important thing we must to do to avoid a climate disaster?
Well, the greenhouse gases we put into the atmosphere, particularly CO2, stay there for thousands of years. And so it's really the sum of all those emissions are forcing the temperature higher and higher, which will have disastrous effects. And so we have to take these emissions, which are presently over fifty one billion tons per year and drive those all the way down to zero. And that's when the temperature will stop increasing and the disastrous weather events won't get worse and worse.
So it's pretty demanding. It's not a 50 percent reduction at all. The way down to zero now, 51 billion is is a big number. It's difficult to register to understand. Help us visualize the scale of of of the scale of the problem.
Well, the key is to understand all the different sources. And people are mostly aware of the production of electricity with natural gas and coal as being a big source. That's about twenty seven percent. And there's someone aware of transportation, including passenger cars. Passenger cars are seven percent and transportation overall is 16 percent. They have far less awareness of the other three segments. Agriculture, which is 19 percent heating and cooling buildings, including using natural gas, are seven percent.
And then, sadly, the biggest segment of all manufacturing, including steel and cement. People are least aware of that one. And in fact, that one is the most difficult for us to solve the size of the all the steel plants, cement plants, paper, plastic. The industrial economy is gigantic. And we're asking that to be changed over in this 30 year period when we don't even know how to make that change right now.
So your argument really here, I'm simplifying, is that basically we need to clean up all of that. Right? The way we make things, we grow things, we get around about our economy. And so to do that, we need to get to a point where green energy is as cheap as fossil fuels and new materials, clean materials, as cheap as materials. And you call that eliminating the green premium. So to start, tell us, what do you mean by green premium?
Yeah, so the green premium varies from emission sources.
It's the cost to buy that product where there's been no emissions versus the cost we have today. And so for an electric car, the green premium is reasonably modest, you pay a little more upfront, you save a bit on the maintenance and gasoline, you give up some range, you have a longer charging time. But over the next 15 years, because the volume is there and the R&D being done, we can expect that the electric car will be preferable.
It won't cost more. It will have a much higher range. And so that green premium that today is about 15 percent is headed to be zero even without any government subsidies. And so that's magic. That's exactly what we need to do for every other category. Now, an area like cement where we haven't really gotten started yet, the green premium today is almost double the price. That is, you pay one hundred and twenty five dollars for a ton of cement today.
But it would be almost double that if you insisted that it be green cement. And so the way I think of this is in 20, 50, we'll be talking to India and saying to them, please use the green products. Is your building basic shelter, simple air conditioning, which they'll need because of the heat increase or lighting at night for students. And unless we're willing to subsidize it or the price is very low, they'll say, no, this is a problem that the rich countries created that India is suffering from and you need to take care of it.
So only by bringing that green premium down very dramatically, about 95 percent across all categories, will that conversation go well so that India can make that shift. And so the key thing here is that the US's responsibility is not just to zero out its emissions. It's a very hard thing, but we're only 15 percent unless we throw our power of innovation, make it so cheap for all countries to switch all categories, then we simply aren't going to get there.
And so the US really has to step up and use all of this innovative capacity every year for the next 30 years.
What what needs to happen in order for these breakthroughs to actually occur with kind of who are the players we need to come together?
Well, innovation usually happens at a pace of its own. Here we have this deadline, 20, 50. And so we have to do everything we can to accelerate it. We need to raise the R&D budgets in these areas. In twenty fifteen, I organized, along with President Hollande and Obama, a site event to the Paris climate talks where what Prime Minister Modi had labeled mission innovation was a commitment to double R&D budgets over a five year period. And all the the big countries came in and made that pledge.
Then we need lots of smart people who, instead of working on other problems, are encouraged to work on these problems. So coming up with funding for them is very, very important. I'm doing some of that through what I call breakthrough energy fellows. We need high risk capital to invest in these companies, even though the risks are very, very high. And that's there is now a breakthrough in energy ventures. Is one group doing that and drawing lots of other people in.
But then the most difficult thing is we need markets for these products even when they start out being more expensive. And that's what I call Kabbalist, organizing the buying power of consumers and companies and governments so that we get on the learning curve, get the scale going up like we did with solar and wind across all these categories. So it's both supply the innovation and demand for the the green products. That's the combination that can start us to make this change to the physical and the infrastructure of the entire physical economy.
So in terms of the funding of this, the financial system as a whole right now is essentially funding expansion of fossil fuels consistent with our three degrees Celsius increase in in global global heating. What do you say to the Finance Committee beyond the venture capital about the need to think and act differently? Well, if you look at the interest rates for a solar field versus any other type of investments, it's not lower. Your money is is very fungible. It's going to, you know, different projects.
But, you know, there's no sort of special rate for climate related projects now. You know, governments can decide through tax incentives to improve those things. But the you know, it's not this is not just about reporting numbers. It's good to report numbers. But the steel industry is providing a vital service. Even gasoline for 98 percent of the cars being purchased today allows people to get to their job. And so, you know, just divestment alone is not going to be the thing that creates the new alternative and brings that the cost of that down.
So the finance side will be important because the speed of deployment of solar and wind needs to be accelerated dramatically beyond anything we've done today. In fact, you know, on average, we'll have to deploy three times as much every year as the peak years so far. And so those are the those are a key part of the solution. They're not the whole whole solution. But the people sometimes think just by putting numbers, disclosing numbers, that somehow all changes are by divesting, that it all changes.
The financial sector is important, but without the innovation, there's nothing they can do.
A lot of the current focus is going towards cutting emissions by half by 2030 and on the way to reaching that zero by 20 50. And in the book you write that there is danger in that kind of thinking that we should keep our main focus on 2050. Can you explain that?
Well, the only real measure of how well we're doing is the green premium, because that's what determines whether India and other developing countries will choose to use the zero emission approach in 20 50 at the idea. If you're focusing on short term reductions, then you could say, oh, it's fantastic. We just put billions of dollars into natural gas plants. And even ignoring that, there's a lot of leakage that doesn't get properly measured. You know, give them full credit and say that's a 50 percent reduction.
The the lifetime of that plant is greater than 30 years.
You financed it, assuming they're getting value out of it over a longer period of time. So to say, hey, hallelujah, we switch from coal to natural gas, that has nothing to do with reaching zero. It set you back because the the capital spending involved there. And so it's not a path to zero if you're just working on the easy parts of the emission. That's not a path. The path is to take every source of emission and say, oh, my goodness, how am I going to get that green premium down?
How am I going to get that green premium down?
Otherwise know getting the 50 percent does not stop the problems. This is very tough because the the nature is zero. It's not just a you know, a small, small decrease. So getting the green premium down, so you mentioned India that took to make sure that the transition, the train transition is also an Indian story and an African story, not only a Western story, should rich countries adopt the expect expensive clean alternatives now to kind of buy down the green premio and make technology, therefore more accessible to low income countries?
Absolutely. You have to pick which product paths with scale will become low green premium products and you don't want to just randomly pick things that are low emission. You have to pick things that will come down. So like so far, hydrogen fuel cells have not done that. Now they might in the future, solar, wind and lithium ion, we've seen these incredible cost reductions. And so we have to duplicate that for other areas, things like offshore wind, heat pump, new ways of doing transmission.
You know, we have to keep the electricity grid reliable, even in very bad weather conditions. And so that's where storage or nuclear and transmission will have to be scaled up in a very significant way, which we now have this open source model to look at that. And so the the buying of green products that demand signal what I call Catalyst, we're going to have to orchestrate a lot of money, many tens of billions of dollars for that, that, you know, it's one of the most expensive pieces so that the improvements come in these other areas and some of them we haven't even gotten started on.
Many people believe it actually that the climate question is mostly a question of consuming less and particularly consuming less energy. And in the book, you actually write several times that we need to consume more energy. Why?
Well, the basic living conditions that we take for granted should be made available to all humans. And the human population is growing. And so you're going as you provide shelter, heating and air conditioning, which anywhere near the equator will be more in demand since you'll have many days where you can't go outdoors at all. So we're not going to stop making shelter. We're not going to stop making food. And so we need to be able to multiply those processes by zero.
That is, you make shelter, but there's no emissions. You make food, but there's no emissions. That's how you get all the way down to zero. Now, it's made somewhat easier if rich countries are consuming less, but how far will that go?
So if I if I summarize in my head your your book, you're basically suggesting that if we eliminate the green premium, the transition somehow can occur. The cost and technology, green premium and breakthroughs are the key drivers. But then, you know, you think of climate and climate is kind of a wicked problem. It has implications that are social, political, behavioral. It requires significant citizen involvement in focusing too much on tech and not enough on those other variables.
Well, we need all these things. If you don't have a deep engagement, particularly by the younger generation, making this a top priority every year for the next 30 years across all the developed countries, we will not succeed. And I'm not the one who knows how to activate all those people. I'm super glad that the people who are smart about that or are thinking it's a necessary element. Likewise, the piece that I do have experience and innovation, ecosystems, that's a necessary element.
You will not get there just by saying please stop using steel. You know, it it it won't happen, and and so the innovation piece has to come along and particularly encouraging consumers to buy electric cars or artificial meat or electric heat pumps, they're part of driving that demand, what I call the catalytic demand. That alone won't do it because some of these big projects like green hydrogen or green aviation fuel require billions in capital expense. But the demand signal from enlightened consumers is very important.
Their political voice is very important. They're pushing the companies they work at is very important. And so I absolutely agree that the broad community who cares about this, particularly if they understand how hard it is and don't say, oh, we can do it in 10 years, they are super important.
You mentioned artificial meat and I know you love burgers and you tried an artificial burger. And how did you find it?
Yes, I'm an investor in all these impossible beyond and various people. And I have to say the progress in that sector is greater than I expected five years ago. I would have said that is as hard as manufacturing now. It's very hard, but not as hard as manufacturing. There is no impossible foods of green steel and the quality is going to keep improving. It's it's quite good today. You know, there's other companies coming in to that space covering different types of food.
And as the volume goes up, the price will go down. And so I think it's quite promising. I, I have to admit, I don't one hundred percent of my burgers aren't artificially yet. It's about 50 percent. But I'll get there. It's a start, you're already on 20, 30 on that on that front, so you mentioned your expertise in innovation when you have a couple of lines of, I have to say, of exquisite modesty in the book, where you say you think like an engineer, you don't know much about politics, but actually you talk to top politicians more than any of us.
What what do you ask them and what do you hear in return?
Well, they're mostly responding to voters interest. Most of the countries we're talking about are are democracies. And the you know, there are resources that will need to be put in like tax credits that encourage buying green products or, you know, government purchasing of green products at slightly higher prices.
Know those are real trade offs and making sure that the areas where there's lots of jobs in, say, coal mining or, you know, things where the demand will go down, having that political sensitivity and thinking through, can we put the new jobs in that area and what are the the handle that this is a tough political problem.
And, you know, my admonition to people is not only to get educated themselves, but help educate other people. And often, you know, like in the US, if if it's people of both parties, that's even better. The the level of interest is high, but it needs to get even higher, almost like a moral mission of all young people to go beyond their individual success, that they they believe that getting to zero by twenty fifty is is critical.
Now, before we continue the interview, I would like to take a short detour for one minute because my colleagues at that ad have produced a series of seven animated videos inspired by your book. They introduce the concept of net zero emissions. They discuss other questions and challenges that you're facing relating to climate. And so I would like to share one short clip from one of those animations. You flip a switch, coal burns in a furnace which turns water into steam, that steam spins a turbine which activates a generator which pushes electrons through the wire.
This current propagates through hundreds of miles of electric cables and arrives at your home all around the world. Countless people are doing this every second, flipping a switch, plugging in, pressing an on button.
So how much electricity does humanity need?
The answer to that and to many other climate questions, of course, is in the seven animations available on the today at the site and the today's YouTube channel Bill, you mentioned the younger generation before.
How does the younger generations role in solving this problem inspire you? Well, they. Can make sure this is a priority, and if we have a top priority for four years, then it's not for four years.
You can't ask the trillions of investment in the new approach to take place. It's got to be pretty clear that even though political parties may disagree on the tactics, you know, the same way they agree there should be a strong defense that they agree this zero by 20, 50 is a shared goal. And then discuss, OK, how where does government command, where does the private sector come in? Which area deserves priority? That will be a huge milestone where it's a a discussion about how to get there versus whether to get there.
And the US is the most fraught in terms of it being politicized, even in terms of is this a a huge problem or not. So, you know, young people, they're going to be around to see the good news. If we're able to achieve this, you know, I won't be around. But, you know, they they speak with moral authority and they have particular people who are stepping up on this. But I hope that's just the beginning.
And that's why this year, I think, is so important. All this recovery money being program, people thinking about do governments protect us the way they should do governments work together? The pandemic is tee this up is OK. What's the next big problem we need to collaborate around? And I'm hoping that climate appears there because of these activists.
Now, they've got to come back to the pandemic question. But I want to talk a moment about some specific technology breakthroughs that you mentioned in the book. But you also just mentioned the organization. We set up a breakthrough energy to invest in clean tech startup and advocate for policies. And then so and assume somehow your book is kind of a blueprint for what a breakthrough energy is going to is going to do. Is a branch in that organization called Catalist that's prioritizing several technologies, including green hydrogen that have carbon capture, aviation, biofuels.
I'm going to ask you about specific investments, but I would like to ask you to describe why those priorities maybe starting with green hydrogen, if we can get green hydrogen, that's very cheap and we don't know that we can.
That becomes a magic ingredient to a lot of processes that lets you make fertilizer without using natural gas. It lets you reduce iron ore for steel production without using any form of coal. And so there's two ways to make it. You can take water and split it into hydrogen and oxygen. You can take natural gas and pull out the hydrogen. And so it's kind of a holy grail, you know, and and so we need to get going. We need to get the all the components to be very, very cheap.
And only by actually doing projects, significant scale projects, do you get on to that learning curve. And so Catalyst will fund the early pilot projects along with governments to go, you know, go make green hydrogen, get the electrolyzer to get up and volume and get a lot cheaper, because that would that would be a huge advance.
Lot of manufacturing, not all of it, but a lot of it would be solved with that.
So just for those who don't know, green hydrogen is produced with clean energy sources. Wind, solar and so nitrogen produced from natural gas or fossil gas is great hydrogen. The second priority that you have set is that if carbon capture pooling carbon from the atmosphere and at least in theory, we can find a way to do that at large scale together with other technologies. The problem could be solved, but it's a very early stage, unproven technology. You describe it yourself in the book as a thought experiment at this stage, but you are one of the main investors in the sector in the world.
So what's the real potential for direct carbon capture? So there's a company today, Clim works that for a bit over six hundred dollars a tonne will do capture. Now it's a fairly small scale. I'm a customer of theirs as part of my program where I eliminate all of my carbon emissions and a gold standard way.
There are other people who are trying to do larger scale plants like carbon engineering, breakthrough energy is investing in a number of these carbon capture entities. In a way, the carbon capture is for the part that you can't solve any other way. It's kind of the brute force piece, and no one knows what that price will be. If it's one hundred dollars a tonne, then the cost against current emissions would be five trillion a year. Can we get below one hundred dollars a tonne?
It's not not clear that we can, but it would be fantastic to take the final 10, 15 percent of the emissions. And instead of making the change at the place where the emission takes place, just do this, direct their capture to be clear that they're capturing as you put you're just filtering the air and you're pulling out the four hundred and ten million current parts per million and putting that into a pressurized form of CO2 that then you sequester in someplace that, you know, it'll stay for millions of years.
And so this industry is just at the very, very beginning. But it's a necessary piece for the tail of emissions.
And a third priority is aviation. Biofuels now flying over the last several years has become a symbol of a polluting lifestyle, let's say. Why aviation biofuels as a priority?
Well, the great thing about passenger cars is that even though batteries don't store. Energy as well as gasoline, does this dramatic difference. The you can afford to have the extra size and weight of those batteries on a plane that is a large plane going a long distance, there's no chance that batteries will ever have that energy density. I mean, there's some crazy people who are working on it, and I'll be glad to fund them. But you wouldn't want to count on that.
And so you either have to use hydrogen as a plane fuel that has certain challenges or you just want to make today's aviation fuel with green processes like using plants as the source of how you make those. And so I'm the biggest individual customer of a group that makes green aviation fuel. So that's what I'm using now, cost over twice as much as the normal aviation fuel. But as the demand scales up, that's one of those green premiums that we hope to bring down so that at some point lots of consumers will say, yes, I'll pay a little extra on my plane ticket, probably through Catalist or through the airline to make sure that that we're building up that industry and trying to get the the cost that that green premium down quite a bit.
So this is a super important area that, you know, I was amazed when I went to buy that, you know, I was by far the biggest individual customer.
It's also it's also, of course, a very symbolic area. Right. People think of cars and think of of airplanes when they think of pollution and and and emissions, there is a technology that they want to bring up because you are an advocate and an investor in nuclear power, which is also not universally accepted as clean energy because of the risks, because of radioactive waste. Can you make the case briefly, but can you make your case for nuclear?
Well, one thing that needs to be appreciated is the energy has to come from somewhere. And so if you stop using natural gas to heat homes and gasoline to power cars, the electric grid will have to grow dramatically. And in even in the case of the US, where electricity demand has been flat, the last few decades will lead to be almost three times as large as you do that with weather dependent sources.
The reliability of the electricity generation goes away, that if you get big cold fronts that for 10 days can stop most of the wind and solar, say, in the in the Midwest. So the question is, how do you use massive amounts of transmission and storage and non weather dependent sources which would scale nuclear as is the only choice there, to maintain that reliability and not have people say freeze to death and nuclear people will be pretty impressed with how valuable it is to create that reliability.
Now, 80 percent, at least in the US, will be wind and solar. So we have to build that faster than ever. But what is that piece that's always available? This is where nuclear would fit in.
Now, you talk a lot about scaling up technologies in the book. I want to ask you a question about scaling down, because one thing that's absent from your book is a discussion about scaling down fossil fuel production, maybe starting with a list and not expanding it anymore. If adopting a sort of fossil fuel nonproliferation approach, because right now we are talking about a green transition, but at the same time we are building out further fossil fuel infrastructure.
What's your view on that?
Well, it's all about the demand for fossil fuels and the fact that the green premium is very high. If you want to restrict supply. Then you'll just you'll drive the price up. People still want to drive to their job if you say you made fossil fuels illegal. You try that for a few weeks. You know, my view is you have to create a substitute because the services provided by the fossil fuel are actually quite valuable. Electricity is valuable.
Transportation is valuable. And are you willing to drop demand for those things to zero?
And, you know, so the the capitalistic economy will respond. If it's clear, you know, how you're going to do your tax policies and your credit, you're going to drive innovation, then the you know, the infrastructure investments in those things will go down. We see that with coal already today. But it just speaking against something when you have it create an alternative isn't going to get you to zero.
OK, I want to I want to shift topics you mentioned before the pandemic and your main focus since you set up the Gates Foundation has been on global health. I actually read that the letter the annual letter you wrote with your wife Melinda in January twenty one, which was very much about the covid-19 pandemic. And I found myself marveling at how what you write resonates with the climate challenge. What lessons from the pandemic can be actually applied to climate?
Well, I think the biggest lesson is that governments got to, on our behalf, avoid disastrous future outcomes. And individual citizens aren't equipped to either do those evaluations or think through the that R&D and deployment plan that's necessary here. And so we have to make it an imperative that governments hopefully have any party join into this. The pandemic. We did eventually get global cooperation. The US didn't play its normal role there, but the private sector innovation created the vaccine.
Now, sadly, with climate, the pain it's causing gets worse over time. So with the pandemic, we had all these deaths and people were like, wow, OK, we should do something with climate you can't wait for. The coral reefs will have died off, the species will be gone. And so if you say, OK, well, let's you know, when it gets bad, we'll invent something like a vaccine that doesn't work, because to stop the emissions, you have to change every steel plant, cement plant, you know, car, things that have massive lead times and literally trillions of dollars of investment.
And so with the pandemic, we messed up. We didn't pay attention. People like myself said it was a problem. But, you know, now we're getting our way out of it through innovation.
But climate's harder, much harder problem. And so the political will to get it right needs to be unprecedented compared to the pandemic or almost any other political cause.
I want to correct you on the point about private sector innovation, because, of course, a lot of public money went into funding research and guaranteed purchases. And so for the vaccines. But that's a separate interview.
Well, the vaccine, you know, government money, that's that's absolutely true. We're still still related to our reaction to these big challenges. You know, over half of the total greenhouse gas emissions since seventeen, fifty or fifty one have gone up in the atmosphere in the last 30 years and have known for more than 30 years that they have pernicious effects, to say the least. So if we could mobilize such enormous resources and policies and collaborations and global collaborations against covid-19, what was the lever we can use to mobilize the same against climate?
You know, we've wasted a lot of time that we should have used to work on the hard parts of climates, just having short term goals and not focusing on the R&D piece we the last twenty years. We don't have much to show for the hard categories now. There's still time to get there. We will have to fund adaptation a great deal because the twenty fifty goal is not because that's a goal to zero damage. It's simply the goal that is the most ambitious, that has a chance of being achieved.
And we are causing problems for subsistence farmer. Farmers and sea level rise from wildfires and natural ecosystems, and so the adaptation side is even more underfunded than the mitigation side. For example, helping poor farmers with seeds that can deal with the droughts and high temperatures is funded at less than a billion a year, which is deeply tragic. We're getting towards the end, I mentioned the beginning of the book, you describe yourself as an imperfect messenger on climate.
What changes have you made in your personal and family life to reduce your footprint?
Well, I'm certainly driving an electric car, putting solar panels on the houses and where that makes sense. Using this green aviation fuel, you know, I still can't say that I've stopped eating meat or that I never fly. And so it's mostly by funding over seven million a year the products that although their green premiums are very high today, like the carbon capture or like the aviation fuel, by funding those, you actually get those on to the learning curve to get get those prices down very dramatically.
One area that I do is I fund putting in electric heat pumps into low cost housing. And so instead of using natural gas, they get a lower bill because it's done with electricity. And I paid that extra capital cost as as an offset. So, you know, accelerating those demand things. I've tried to get out in front of that. You also talk in the book about pay more than market value or the current market price for offsets, and you hinted to them before talking about the golden standard.
Tell us about what kind of offsets can be kind of confusing and controversial. What kind what are the right offsets?
Well, first of all, it's great that we're finally talking about offsets and any company that actually looks at their emissions and pays for offsets is way better than a company that either doesn't look at their emissions or looks at them and doesn't pay for offsets. And so the leading companies are now buying offsets, some of them spending hundreds of millions to buy offsets. That is a very, very good thing. The ability to see which offsets actually have long term benefit that really keep the carbon out for the over thousands of years that count.
There are now organizations that I and others are funding to label offsets as either gold standard or different levels of impact. And the price of offsets range from fifteen dollars a tonne to six hundred dollars a tonne. Some of the low cost ones may be really legitimate and you know, like reducing natural gas leakage. That is is pretty dramatic in some cases in terms of the the dollars per ton to avoid it. There are a lot of the forestry things will probably not end up looking that good if you really look at the lifetime of the tree or what would have happened otherwise.
But, you know, at least we're talking about offsets now and now we're going to do it in a thoughtful way.
So some of the people listening to this interview may already be very involved in climate. Others may be looking for ways to to step up. And at the end of your book, you have a chapter about individual action. Give us maybe a say two examples to practical examples of things that individual citizens in the US but also as aware can do to play a meaningful role in tackling climate change. I think everybody should start by learning more, you know, how much steel do we make and where are those steel plants?
And, you know, the industrial economy is kind of a miracle, although sadly, it's a source of so many emissions. Once you really educate yourself, then you're in a position to educate others, hopefully, of diverse political beliefs about why this is so important. And yet it's also very, very hard to do. You have all your buying behavior, electric cars, artificial meat, you know, and you'll see for all the different products, various things that indicate how green that product is.
And your demand doesn't just save those emissions. It also encourages the the improvement of of the green product know political voice. I'd still put it, number one, you know, making sure your company is measuring its its emissions and is starting to fund offsets and is willing to be a customer for Breakthru Storage Solutions or green aviation fuel that is catalytic. And a lot of those funds hopefully will go through this vehicle that's really identifying which projects globally are technologies that that won't stay expensive but can do like what solar and wind did and come down in price.
So individuals are what drive this thing. The democracies are where most of the innovation power is and they have to get activated and and set the example I would like to to end on the outcome.
Maybe we should have started with the outcome, but let's imagine a world where we will actually have done all of what you describe in the book and everything else that's necessary. What would that future everyday life look like?
Well, I think everybody will be really proud that humanity came together. On a global basis to make this radical change and there's no precedent for it, know even world wars where we orchestrated lots of resources, it was like four or five year duration. And here we're talking about three decades of hard work dealing with an enemy that the super bad stuff is out in the future. And so you're benefiting young people. And in future generations, in some ways, I in a life will look a lot like it does today.
You'll still have buildings, you'll have air conditioning, you have lights at night. But all of those you'll multiply by zero in terms of what the emissions that come out of those activities are during the same time frame will have advances in medicine of curing cancer and finishing polio and malaria and all sorts of things. And so by taking away this one super negative thing, then all the progress we make in other areas won't get reduced by this awful thing that if it goes unchecked, the migration out of the equatorial regions, the number of deaths, it'll make the pandemic look like nothing.
I think so from a moral point of view and a letting the other improvements not be offset by this. It'll be a source of great pride that, hey, we came together, OK, let's hope that we actually do.
Bill Gates, thank you for sharing your knowledge. Thank you for this very, very important, important book. And thank you for coming back to to Ted. PR ex.