Will our end be worse than the Corona
epidemic if we do not zero out the
When Bill Gates’ ‘How to Avoid a Climate Disaster -The Solutions we Have and the Breakthroughs we Need’ hit shelves on February 16, 2021, I was intrigued and I acquired and examined it with genuine curiosity. (1) As I have written before, all Yıldız Holding companies make great efforts towards sustainability. In the most recent S&P Corporate Sustainability Assessment, Ulker is among the top 631 companies in the assessment covering 7 thousand companies in 61 sectors. We became the first and only Turkish company among 20 global companies in the food products category. We care about the issue of climate change.
Bill Gates begins the book: ‘There are two numbers you need to know about climate change. The first is 51 billion. The other is zero.’ The first is an average of 51 billion tons of greenhouse gases the world releases into the atmosphere annually. The other is the amount of carbon emissions that should be our target. In order to stop global warming and climate change, the greenhouse gases released by humans into the atmosphere must be eliminated. As the number of people is increasing, carbon emissions are increasing and the number of trees is not enough, thereby natural transformation cannot occur and the balance is disrupted. According to Gates, if the amount of carbon emissions is not zeroed, the world will face expected but unforeseen disasters in a very short time. His claim is: ‘I believe that things can change. We already have some of the tools we need
, and as for those we don’t yet have, everything I’ve learned about climate and technology makes me optimistic that we can invent them, deploy them , and , if we act fast enough, avoid a climate catastrophe.’
The late scientist David MacKay, a professor at Cambridge University, shared a graph showing the relationship between a country’s per capita income and energy consumption. ‘The chart plotted various countries’ per capital income on one axis and energy consumption on the other – and made it abundantly clear to me that the two go together.’
‘Eventually it sank in. The world needs to provide more energy so the poorest can thrive, but we need to provide that energy without releasing any more greenhouse gases.’ He deepened his research into this. He has invested several hundred million dollars in “clean” energy companies. He has given orders to establish a company to design a next generation nuclear power plant and to generate clean electricity and very little nuclear waste.
He continues on that when a disaster struck in 2020, it was no surprise when the coronavirus spread around the world. Concerning health, he had been studying disease outbreaks, and was deeply concerned that there would be such a pandemic
, and the world wouldn’t be prepared for it. In fact, some conspirators were ridiculous enough to say that he had Covid19 produced in the lab, as he had predicted the pandemic in 2015!
By November 2020, the Gates Foundation has donated $ 445 million for the prevention and the treatment of the disease. The link he established between Corona and Greenhouse gases is interesting! ‘Because economic activity has slowed down so much, the world will emit fewer greenhouse gases this year than last year…Consider what it took to achieve this 5 percent reduction. A million people died, and tens of millions were put out of work. To put it mildly, this was not a situation that anyone would want to continue or repeat…
.In real terms, that means we will release the equivalent of 48 or 49 billion tons of carbon, instead of 51 billion. ’ ‘Just as we need
Gates is aware that he is “flawed” in terms of social status in describing the phenomenon of climate change. He knows all too well the world lacks no rich men with big ideas, and himself owns big houses and flies in private planes. ‘Who am I to lecture anyone on the environment?’ he says. However, that doesn’t stop him from speaking the truth.
So far he has invested more than $ 1 billion in new initiatives, approaches that he hopes will help the world achieve zero emissions, including affordable and reliable (clean) energy and low-emission cement, steel, meat, agricultural crop production and more. There’s nothing wrong with using more energy as long as it’s carbon-free, he says. I wonder? I don’t know, I think unnecessary spending is a waste. The key to addressing climate change is to make “clean” energy as cheap and reliable as the one produced from fossil fuels. He thinks that this will make a significant difference from 51 billion tons a year to zero in the world. That’s why he says he makes a lot of effort towards this goal, and the reason he wrote the book is to share what he knows. Let me contribute to this goal of his in a broad summary.
The book consists of an Introduction, 12 Chapters and Afterword. Let me tell you now what I would tell at the end that the subject called “green premium” that he proposes to get rid of greenhouse gas is very important and how logical “0 greenhouse gas” target is and how much more would people pay for the product or service that does the same job only for social benefit? I am worried about this! In addition, differences in development levels between nations affect their priorities and perspectives on these issues.
Bill Gates asks “Why Zero?” than explains the question. The reason we want to reach zero is very simple. Greenhouse gases trap heat and cause the earth’s average surface temperature to rise. 51 billion tons is the annual carbon dioxide equivalent emission of the world. Greenhouse gases emissions have increased significantly since the 1850s due to human activities such as burning fossil fuels.
Carbon dioxide emissions and average global temperature have been rising since 1850. How do greenhouse gases cause warming? These gases absorb heat and trap it into the atmosphere. They work like a greenhouse. Hence the name is greenhouse gas. So does it have to be zero? Yes! Because every piece of carbon we release into the atmosphere contributes to the greenhouse effect. This is the law of physics.
Carbon dioxide emissions are rising and the global temperature is also rising. (Global Carbon Budget 2019; Berkeley Earth).
In a warmer climate, storms are harsher, with more rainfall in some places, but more frequent and more severe droughts elsewhere. Warmer air holds more moisture and draws more water from the soil. The warmer climate means more frequent forest fires. The warm air absorbs moisture from the plants and the plant soil. Everything is more prone to burning. Another effect of extreme heat is sea level rise. This is partly because polar ice melts and seawater expands when it warms up. These new conditions might be good for some varieties of crops such as maize, but not all types of crops in the world. It will even cause some different plant species to die. Also, the lives of animals are in trouble. A number of marine species will disappear due to reduced oxygen and changing ocean temperatures.
You may think that the 1.5 to 2 degrees temperature difference is not that big. A two degree increase might be thought to be 33% worse than a 1.5 degree increase, but scientists say the difference is 100% bad. This means twice as many people will have problems accessing clean water.
You have to think about the effects of climate by adding one above the other. All effects will have a cumulative combined effect. For example, as the weather gets warmer, mosquitoes start living longer. Cases of malaria appear and insect-borne diseases
are will be on the rise more than ever before. An interconnected destruction arises in nature.
In Chapter 2, Gates says, “This Will Be Hard,” and furthers not to despair, as there is a remedy! Then he explains the remedy: Everything we eat, drink and wear and fossil fuels cause an increase in greenhouse gases. Fossil fuels are everywhere for a very simple reason: They’re cheap! Petrol is always cheaper than soft drink. People around the world use more than 4 billion gallons of a cheaper product than diet soda every day, and even that alone is a reason not to give up.
It takes a really long time to adopt new energy sources. Notice how coal has progressed from 5% of the world’s energy supply to about 50% in 60 years. However, natural gas only reached 20% in the same period and this took 70 years. Nuclear fission went quickly from 0 to 10% in 27 years.
There is no true consensus on climate change. Gates says 97% of scientists agree that the climate is changing due to human activities. There are still small but in some cases politically strong groups of people who cannot be persuaded by science. Even if you acknowledge the reality of climate change, this idea is difficult to accept, as large sums of money must be invested in breakthroughs designed to deal with it. Some people, for example, claim that climate change is happening, but they don’t make any significant efforts to try to stop it. Instead, they think that priority should be given to other things that hold a greater benefit for humans’ well-being, such as health and education.
In chapter 3, Gates explains and provides answers to “5 Questions to Ask in Every Climate Conversation”.
1: How much of the 51 billion tons are we talking about? The aviation industry in Europe says it reduces its carbon footprint by 17 million tons every year. The annual emission reduction of 17 million is about 0.03% of global emissions. Well, is this a meaningful contribution? It depends on the answer to the question; will the number increase or stay the same? If this program starts at 17 million tons but has the potential to reduce emissions by much more, that’s a good thing. If it will stay at 17 million forever, that’s something else. Unfortunately, the answer is not always straightforward.
Two: What’s the plan for cement? Steel and cement production alone accounts for about 10% of all emissions. Remember that emissions result from five different activities and all need solutions. Here are the activities and their proportion in total emissions:
1) Producing something: cement, steel, plastic (31%)
2) Plugging in: electricity (27%),
3) Growing: plants, animals (19%),
4) Travel: airplane, truck, cargo ship (16%),
5) Air conditioning (7%).
Reaching zero means resetting each of these categories.
Three: How Much Power Are We Talking About? This question arises mostly in articles about electricity. In these, you can read that a new power plant will produce 500 megawatts. Is this a lot? When you hear 1 kilowatt, think of the electricity consumption of a house, when you hear 1 megawatt, you should think of the electricity consumption of a small town, if you think of 1 gigawatt, you should think of a medium-sized city, and if you think of 100 or more gigawatts, you should think of a big country, if over 5000 gigawatts you should think of the world’s electricity consumption.
Four: How much space does one need? Some power supplies take up more space than others. This is important because there is a limited amount of available land and water. Generated power per square meter: 500-10,000 watts for fossil fuels, 500-1000 watts for nuclear, 5-20 watts for solar energy, 5-50 watts for hydro power (dams), 1-2 watts for wind energy, and less than 1 for wood and other biomass. The power density of solar energy could theoretically reach 100 watts per square meter, but no one has been able to achieve this. If someone tells you that one source (wind, sun, nuclear, etc.) can provide all the energy the world needs, ask how much space or what other resource would be needed to generate that much energy.
Five: How Much Is It Going To Cost? Changing our energy investments from “dirty” carbon-emitting technologies to zero-emission technologies will come at a cost. Here Gates refers to a concept called a green premium. The green premium is generated by looking at the zero carbon price difference from the original. In the case of a gallon of jet fuel which in the U.S. has remained steady at $2.22 for some time, while zero carbon fuel is $5.35, showing a difference or a green premium of $3.13. That is a premium of more than 140%. In rare cases, the green premium can be negative. How much is the world willing to pay to go green? Clean alternatives are not cheap enough.
In chapter 4, entitled “How We Plug In?” Gates attempts to explain that our way to reach electrical energy causes 27% of 51 billion tons of greenhouse gases. Electricity sources are: coal 36%, natural gas 23%, hydropower 16%, nuclear 10%, renewables 11%, oil 3%, and other 1%. Two thirds of electricity production is derived from fossil fuels. Today, the US spends only 2% of its GDP on electricity. The “green premium” that changes all of America’s electricity, the transition to zero carbon emissions, will average around 1.3 to 1.7 cents per kilowatt hour, about 15 percent more than most people currently pay. This means a green premium of $ 18 a month for an average home. It is similar shape in Europe. Over the past few decades, China has achieved one of the greatest achievements in history and has managed to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, partly by building coal-fired electric plants at very cheap costs.
What about nature? Chinese companies have reduced the cost of a coal plant by a remarkable 75%. If India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Pakistan and African countries prefer coal plants, that would be a disaster for the climate. But right now this is the most economical option for those countries. Years ago, advanced European countries opposed the dams that were to be built in Turkey citing the brevity of their economic life and
advanced European countries, with ecology and climate changes. were opposed, citing the brevity of their economic life.
The sun and wind are discontinuous sources, meaning they do not generate electricity 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. However, our need for power is not intermittent. So we will need other options; For example, we should store excess electricity in batteries. But this is quite an expensive way, or natural gas power plants that work only when you need them. In any case, they are not economical. The closer to 100% clean electricity, the greater and more expensive disruption to supply becomes.
Expecting to derive most of our energy from renewable sources is the exception rather than the rule. Therefore, even when we set up solar and wind at full capacity, the world will need new clean electricity energy method inventions.
Gates talks about fusion, offshore wind, geothermal, battery, hydro pumping, and thermal storage alternatives to be able to generate electricity without carbon emissions.
Nuclear fission: Here he gives once sentence to describe nuclear fission as the only carbon-free energy source in the world that is operated on a large scale, providing permanently reliable “clean” energy in all seasons. No other clean energy source can even come close to nuclear fission figures. The United States derives about 20% of its electricity, and France 70%, from nuclear power. Together, solar and wind can provide about 7% carbon emissions benefits worldwide. It is difficult to foresee a future where we can cost-effectively decarbonize our electricity grid without using more nuclear power! But being a neighbor to Chernobyl is also difficult!
Problems regarding nuclear power are known problems. Nuclear energy, for example, is responsible for far fewer human deaths than automobile accidents. Yet, just as we do with traffic, we must strive to analyze and resolve issues one by one with innovation. ‘I am very optimistic about the approach created by Terra Power, a company I founded in 2008’, says Gates, adding ‘bringing together the best minds in nuclear physics and computer modeling to design the next generation nuclear reactor. Because no one was going to let us build experimental reactors in the real world, we set up a lab of supercomputers in Bellevue, Washington, where the team runs digital simulations of different reactor designs. We think we’ve created a model that solves all the key problems using a design called a traveling wave reactor.’
‘There is another completely different approach to energy that is quite promising but is at least ten years away from supplying electricity to consumers: nuclear fusion… ’ As opposed to obtaining energy by separating atoms as with fission, fusion involves bringing them together or combining them. Although still in the experimental stage, fusion promises a lot in the future. Fuel will be cheap and plentiful as it will work with commonly available elements such as hydrogen. However, fusion is very difficult in practice. Gates shares, ‘there’s an old joke among nuclear scientists: “Fusion is 40 years away and it will always be.”
Storing Batteries: ‘I’ve spent way more time learning about batteries than I ever would’ve imagined’ says Gates adding, ‘I’ve also lost more money on start-up battery companies than I ever imagined.’ Lithium ion batteries are difficult to improve upon. Inventors have studied all the metals we can use in the battery, and it seems unlikely that there will be materials that will produce better batteries than are already available. I think we can improve them 3 times as much, but this number will never be 50 times. An inventor I admire is working on a battery that uses liquid metals instead of the solid metals used in conventional batteries. The idea is that liquid metal allows you to store and feed upon much more energy very quickly.
Chapter 5, under the heading “How we construct things?” Gates explains that by continuing construction, we release 31% of 51 billion tons of bad emissions into the atmosphere. 4.3 billion tons of cement was produced in the USA from 1901 to 2000, and 25.8 billion tons in China in the last 16 years. But Americans use steel as much as cement. Plastics are another amazing material found in many products, from clothes and toys to furniture, cars and mobile phones. It is impossible to list them all. In short, we produce materials necessary for modern life as well as electricity. We will not give up on them. If anything, we’ll use more of it as the world’s population grows and gets richer. There is ample data to support that this is the case. For example, we will produce 50% more steel by the middle of this century than today.
There is a by-product of steel that we don’t want, carbon dioxide. Making one ton of steel produces about 1.8 tons of carbon dioxide. By 2050, the world will produce around 2.8 billion tons of steel each year. In other words, the carbon that steel releases into the environment will increase exponentially. In the manufacture of cement or steel, carbon dioxide is released as an inevitable byproduct, but in plastic manufacturing, about half of the carbon is trapped in the plastic. Plastics can take hundreds of years to deteriorate. But this is a big environmental problem, because plastics that are not recycled will remain in the environment for a century or more.
Gates then turns attention to the Green Premium. If you run a vehicle manufacturing company, are you ready to spend 25 percent more on all the steel you buy? Probably not, especially if your competitors continues to purchase cheaper materials. ‘The fact that the overall price of the car will only increase a tiny bit wouldn’t be much comfort to you. Your margins are already pretty slim, and you’d be unhappy to see the price of one of your most important commodities go up by a quarter. In an industry with narrow profit margins, a 25 percent premium could be the difference between staying in business and going bankrupt.’ We also do not expect prices to go down, as consumers demand more of these “green” products. After all, consumers do not buy cement or steel, but manufacturing companies do. Are there different ways to lower the premiums? One is to use public policies to create demand for clean products. For example, they can achieve this by creating incentives or even requirements in the sale of 0 carbon cement or steel. Businesses are prone to pay a premium for clean supplies if they are required by law, demanded by customers, and competitors are doing so. Now we need innovation in the manufacturing process, new ways of making things without carbon emissions.
He then sets forth examples. Carbonless cement is the most difficult. Some companies have some good ideas. For example, taking recycled carbon dioxide during the cement making process and injecting it into cement on site. However, even if these approaches are successful, 100% carbon-free cement cannot be produced. Gates states, ‘for the foreseeable future, we’ll have to count on carbon capture and – if it becomes practical-Direct Air Capture (D.A.C.) to grab the carbon emitted when we make cement.’ The first requirement for almost all other materials is plenty of reliable clean electricity. Electricity already accounts for about 1/4 of all energy used by the worldwide manufacturing industry. To power all these industrial processes, we must both use the clean energy technology we have and make new breakthroughs that allow us to generate and store large amounts of zero-carbon electricity. As a road map to zero emissions Gates offers the following four steps:
1. Electrify every possible process which requires intense innovation.
2. Get the electricity from a carbon-free power grid.
3. Use carbon capture; D.A.C to absorb residual emissions.
4. Use materials more efficiently.
In chapter 6, entitled “How We Grow Things?” how 19% of the 51 billion tons of carbon emission per year occurs in food production is explained.
Although Gates is a good cheeseburger lover, he doesn’t eat them as often as he used to. After what he learned about the impact of beef and other meats on climate change…
‘The global population is heading toward 10 billion people by 2100, and we’re going to need more food to feed everyone. Because we’ll have 40 percent more people by the end of the century, it would be natural to think that we’ll need 40 percent more food too, but that’s not the case. We’ll need even more than that.’
‘We need to produce much more food than today, but if we continue to produce it using the methods we use now, it will be a disaster for the climate. Assuming that we cannot increase the amount of crops we get on pasture or arable land, an increase to feed 10 billion people would increase food-related emissions by two-thirds. ’
He furthers on his concerns stating that by making great efforts to generate energy from plants, we could inadvertently start a competition for the use of crop land. Advanced biofuels can give us zero-carbon alternatives to power trucks, ships, and aircraft. But if we grow these crops in the field that will be used to feed a growing population, we can inadvertently increase food prices, drive more people into poverty and malnutrition, and accelerate deforestation, which is already advancing at a dangerous pace. First, we need to know exactly where all these emissions are coming from and identify our options to eliminate them using today’s technology. Technology can help. For example, two companies are working on invisible, plant-based coatings that extend the life of fruits and vegetables; does not affect the taste at all. Another developed a “smart litter box” that uses image recognition to track how much food is wasted at home or at work. It gives you a report on what and how much you throw away, along with the cost and carbon footprint. Giving people more information helps them make better choices.
s plants with essential nutrients such as phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen , which is particularly relevant to climate change. Nitrogen is a complex blessing. It is closely linked to photosynthesis, the process by which plants turn sunlight into energy, making it possible to obtain all plant life and therefore all of our food. But nitrogen also affects climate change badly. Adding nitrogen allows the corn to grow 10 feet high and produce a tremendous amount of seeds. Most plants cannot make their own nitrogen. They obtain this from ammonia in the soil produced by various microorganisms. A plant will only continue to grow as long as it can absorb nitrogen. If farmers have the technology to carefully monitor the nitrogen level and apply the right amount of fertilizer during the growing season, nitrogen is efficiently supplied to the crop. However, this technology is expensive and fertilizer is cheap. Some companies have developed additives that help plants absorb more nitrogen so that less nitrogen is released into groundwater or the atmosphere. Other experts are working on different methods to solve the nitrogen problem. For example, some researchers are doing genetic studies on new crop varieties that use bacteria to fix nitrogen.
About 70% of emissions are from agriculture, forestry and other land uses, another 30%, in his one word summary, “deforestation”! There are several inventions that can help, such as advanced satellite-based monitors that make it easier to detect deforestation and forest fires as they occur and then measure the extent of damage. He states that he follows some companies developing synthetic alternatives to palm oil, so we don’t have to cut a lot of forests to make room for palm plantations. However, this is not a technological problem. This is a political and economic issue.
‘People cut down trees not because people are evil; they do it when the incentives to cut down trees are stronger than the incentives to leave them alone. ’
The impact of planting trees on climate change has been exaggerated. How much carbon dioxide can a tree absorb in its lifetime? It varies, but as a rule it can be estimated at 4 tons over 40 years. How long will the tree live? If it burns, all the carbon dioxide it stores will be released into the atmosphere!
For example, if you turn a soybean farm into a forest, you lower the total available soybean supply, which will increase prices and motivate someone to cut down trees elsewhere to grow soybeans.
‘Taking all these factors into account, the math suggests you’d need somewhere around 50 acres’ worth of trees, planted in tropical areas, to absorb the emissions produced by an average American in her lifetime. Multiply that by the population of the United States, and you get more than 16 billion acres, or 25 million square miles, roughly half the landmass of the world. ’
In Chapter 7, Gates asked “How We Get Around?” discussing how 16% of the 51billion results from the transportation sector. While transportation is not the largest cause of emissions worldwide, it is number one in the United States and has been just ahead of producing electricity for several years. “We Americans drive and fly a lot,” says Gates. He continues, ‘In any case, if we’re going to get net-zero emissions, we’ll have to get rid of all the greenhouse gases caused by transportation
, in the United States and around the world.’ This will be difficult. But not impossible. Then he presents another challenge stating that it would not be enough to eliminate the 8.2 billion tons of carbon produced from transportation today, as it would require much more than that.. Because China is a good example, he puts forth that transport emissions have doubled in the last decade and have increased tenfold since 1990.
There are four ways to reduce emissions from transportation. One of them is to travel and ship less. We have to encourage alternatives like walking, cycling, and it’s great that some cities use smart city plans to do this. Another way to reduce emissions is to use less carbon-intensive materials in automobile construction, although it does not affect fuel emissions as were aforementioned. In addition, even though making and using more efficient tools are important steps in the right direction, they would not bring it to zero. Even if less gas is burned, gas is still burned. The fourth and most effective way in which zero emissions in transportation can be achieved is a transition to electric vehicles and alternative fuels. As previously mentioned, both these options currently carry a green premium.
In Chapter 8, “How We Keep Cool & Stay Warm?” Gates details where 7% of the 51 billion tons of greenhouse gas results from. By 2050, more than 5 billion air conditioners will be operational worldwide. This alone accounts for approximately 14% of all electrical greenhouse gases used by buildings. The fact that the air conditioner operates electrically makes it easy to calculate the green premium for air conditioning. To decarbonize our air conditioners, we need to decarbonize our electricity grids. Unfortunately, demand for electricity isn’t the only thing that makes air conditioners a problem, there are also the gases used in compressors.
In chapter 9 Gates tackles the issue of “Adapting to a Warmer World” and touches upon what we need to do. People of all income levels are affected in some way by climate change. Everyone alive now will have to adapt to a warmer world. As sea levels and floods increase, we will have to review where our homes and businesses are located. We must strengthen electricity networks, ports and bridges. We will need more drinking water. As lakes and waterbeds shrink or become polluted, it will be harder to provide drinking water to everyone in need. Metropolises are in serious poverty and by the middle of the century, the number of people who cannot reach enough water will increase. Separating seawater is a solution, but this process consumes a lot of energy. One idea he is watching closely is to taking water from the air. It’s basically a solar dehumidifier with an advanced filtering system so you don’t drink any air pollution. This system is available now, but is costly.
The topic of Chapter 10 is “Why Government Policies Matter?’ National leaders around the world must have a vision of how the global economy will transition to net-zero carbon emissions. This vision can guide the actions of people and businesses around the world.
In addition to technology and politics, there is a third aspect that Gates touches upon that must be considered: companies that will develop new inventions and enable them to reach a global scale, as well as the investors and financial markets that will support these companies. He furthers that markets, technology, and politics are like three levers that we need to pull in order to free ourselves from fossil fuels. All three must move simultaneously and in the same direction! For example, if you set a zero emission standard for cars and you don’t have the technology to eliminate emissions, or if there is no company that wants to produce and sell cars that meet the standard, it will not be a very successful policy. On the other hand, to have a low emission technology; For example, if you do not give financial incentives to energy companies to produce a device that captures carbon from the exhaust of a coal power plant, it will not be possible. Therefore markets, policy and technology have to work in complementary ways.
In chapter 11, Bill Gates proposes a detailed plan under the heading “A Plan for Getting to Zero”, directing readers to the website. Gates’ plan is a plan for how we can avoid a climate disaster by focusing on specific steps government leaders and politicians can take (breakthroughenergy.org).
Science tells us to invent new technologies to avoid a climate disaster. Innovation is not just about inventing a new machine or a new process; it also brings new approaches to business models, supply chains, markets and policies that will help new inventions come to life and reach a global scale. Innovation is both new devices and new ways of doing new things.
Gates outlines the technologies we need to achieve zero emissions worldwide, although we have a range of competitive low carbon solutions today. To get these technologies up and running fast enough to make a difference, governments need to invest and encourage more clean energy R&D, he says. In other words, the clean energy supply must be resolved first. The demand side is a bit more complicated than the supply side.
In chapter 12, Gates answers the question of “What Each of Us Can Do?”. ‘You have influence as a citizen, consumer, and an employee or an employer. When you ask yourself what you can do to limit climate change, it’s natural to think of things like driving an electric car or eating less meat. This sort of personal action is important for the signals it sends to the marketplace… but the bulk of our emissions comes from the larger systems in which we live our daily lives. When someone wants toast for breakfast, we need to make sure there’s a system that can deliver the bread, the toaster, and the electricity to run the toaster without adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. We aren’t going to solve the climate problem by telling people not to eat toast. But putting this new energy system in place requires concerted political action. That’s why engaging in the political process is the most important single step that people from every walk of life can take to help avoid a climate disaster…. In other words, elected officials will adopt specific plans for climate change if their voters demand it… Whatever other resources you may have, you can always use your voice and your vote to effect change.’ Gates suggests entering politics… I wouldn’t advise it.
And he adds. “Buy an electric vehicle. Try a plant-based burger. “ I haven’t tried it, but neither of them happens.
Consume less meat. The same goes for dairy products. Some steps the private sector can take in this direction include: Setting up an internal carbon tax. Some large companies impose a carbon tax on each of their divisions and are not compromising on reducing emissions. Give low-carbon solutions R&D priority. Be an early adopter in technology. Join the policy making process.
Finally, Bill Gates concludes his book with the following sentences: ‘Unfortunately, the conversation about climate change has become unnecessarily polarized, not to mention clouded by conflicting information and confusing stories… I’m profoundly inspired by all the passion I see, especially among young people, for solving this problem. If we keep our eye on the big goal – getting to zero – and we make serious plans to achieve that goal, we can avoid a disaster. We can keep the climate bearable for everyone, help hundreds of millions of poor people make the most of their lives, and preserve the planet for generations to come.’
Yes, it seems that Bill Gates has put both his mind and money into this business, so to speak. The information, opportunities and warnings given throughout the book are very valuable. Frankly, I was left impressed and informed. But what if the 3% of scientists who do not associate climate change with what we do and how we act, are right? But of course, we also know that Gates warned us about the epidemic 5 years ago and was right about it. That was the reason why I wanted to share the summary review of the book with you as soon as possible. According to Turk Stat (TUİK) data in Turkey in 2018, greenhouse gas emissions have increased by 85% over the last 20 years and have reached 520 million tons (2). According to Gates our contribution is 1% to the world’s emissions which is 51billion tons. In this ranking, China leads with 10%, the USA is second with 5%, and the top 10 countries are responsible for 67.6% of the world’s emissions (3). 100 companies in the world are responsible for 70% of the emissions (4). If the issue of climate change is real, the cause of warming is human beings, and the consequences of it will soon affect everyone, not just the responsible parties. As Gates said, we cannot resist the laws of physics, but we can predict them and take action to avoid their consequences. If you build a house on a streambed, you will endure the result… If we do not reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we will altogether bear the result. But of course, God forbid, should a meteor crash into Earth, a volcano erupt or a war break out, wouldn’t all these sensitive carbon emission calculations be upset?
I humbly say, in my final words that the remedy for all of this lies within man himself. If, contrary to human nature, a person educates their soul, avoids waste, and is satisfied, then the limited resources of this ancient world are easily enough for us all. As you know, a few is always enough whereas many never suffice.
I have some ideas:
America’s famous cities whose lights are never off, the illuminated highways and buildings that are so airconditioned that you have to wear a jacket in the summer and take it off in the winter, the asphalt covered smooth and flat roads covering vast land, the invention of the wheel, the comfort of constant hot water, frequency of laundry, people obsessed with meticulousness. In short, wastefulness.
The cause of obesity is too much food and an imbalanced diet! Isn’t mindfulness and a balanced diet the remedy? If conscious consumption habits were introduced to all segments of society just like the balance nutrition program of the @Sabri Ülker Foundation for primary schools, the carbon emission problem can be permanently solved as a result of a life lived reasonably, with content consumption and avoiding wastefulness.
Yes, Bill Gates has given this topic a lot of thought. But how safe would it be to rely on scientists’ innovative discoveries on these issues, encouraged by companies’ ambition to profit? Especially if the only basis for the widespread use of these applications could be the attraction of consumption…
Note: This article, which is open source, can be cited by mentioning the author. Does not require copyright.
(1) Gates, B. How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need, Allen Lane, 2021,
(2) Turkish Statistical Institute (TURKSTAT), ‘Sera Gazı Emisyon İstatistikleri, 1999-2019, No: 33624, 31 March 2020, Link: https://tuikweb.tuik.gov.tr/PreHaberBultenleri.do?id=33624
(3)Congar, K. ‘Dünya’yı en çok hangi ülkerler kirletiyor? Türkiye listede kaçıncı sırada? (Which countries pollute the world the most? Where does Turkey rank on the list? ‘) ‘, Updated: 3 Sept. 2018, Euronews, Link: https://tr.euronews.com/2018/09/03/dunyayi-en-cok-hangi-ulkeler-kirletiyor-turkiye-kacinci-sirada-
(4)BBC News (Türkçe), ‘Küresel sera gazı salınımının %71’ini sadece 100 şirket gerçekleştiriyor’ Only 100 companies account for 71% of global greenhouse gas emissions), BBC News, 11 July 2017, Link: https://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler-dunya-40558561
Comments are closed.