Climate change is happening, and the problems we are encountering caused by it are becoming more and more evident with every year passing. This year alone in 2022 we have seen more wildfires, floods, droughts, record temperatures, hurricanes… etc than ever before, and it seems it’s just the beginning. While most people agree on climate change, not many understand the real facts and the general complexity of the problem, because it’s not just cars and general transportation, it goes much deeper. Since it’s impacting all of us, I tried to learn more on this subject and stay informed from various sources but there was always a gap and missing pieces of the whole picture, but Bill Gates with his latest book “How to avoid a climate disaster” goes into details why this is happening, our potential breakthrough solution, and describes it as the hardest problem the humankind will need to solve very soon.
51 billion to zero
Right from the start, I liked Bill’s direct approach to explaining things, like the opening of the book by going straight to the problem and the goal, “There are two numbers you need to know about climate change, the first is 51 billion, the other is zero. Currently, we are putting 51 billion tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere every year, and that number is generally increasing, zero is what we need to aim for.”
51 billion is a mind-boggling number and unfortunately for the planet, and us, that number is still going up, not down. Now, reducing it is already a challenge, but bringing it down to zero is a challenge on a whole new level. My first thought was “How the hell are we gonna do this!?”, which was in part also on Bill’s mind initially, but then he systematically goes in to categorize the biggest contributors of greenhouse gases and their potential solutions.
Problems and solutions
Most people probably think that cars, planes, and general transportation are the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases, at least that’s what I thought. Maybe because I’m mostly exposed to emissions in that category in my everyday life, but to my surprise and maybe yours, transportation falls to the 4th place on the list.
- 31%: Making things (cement, steel, plastic)
- 27%: Plugging in (electricity)
- 19%: Growing things (plants, animals)
- 16%: Transportation (cars, planes, trucks, ships)
- 7%: Keeping warm and cool (heating, cooling, refrigeration)
Throughout the book, Bill goes into detail about every category’s problems and potential technological solutions, but generally, they all have one goal in common, not to burn oil.
This will be hard
This is a problem we should be quite concerned about, and this book helped me understand climate change much better. I can’t say I finished the book more optimistic about our future, the technological breakthroughs will need to happen soon. But if you want to understand what’s going on and get a better insight into how we could solve it, this is the book to pick up.