Sunday, April 25, 2021

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates is a solid and detailed book with the subtitle The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need.

Gates covers the importance of reaching net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases. We emit 51 billion tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere annually. The world's biggest emitters, the richest countries, need to get to net-zero emissions by 2050, and the rest of the world to follow. To get there, we have to be planning now. 

There's sections in the book about each of the activities that emissions come from: making things (31% of 51B tons), plugging in (27%), growing things (19%), getting around (16%), and keeping cool and warm (7%). Heavily written about is the Green Premium, the additional cost of something green. When the Green Premium becomes less, it's more likely the green item will be purchased. Government programs, policies, and incentives can help the most in areas where the Green Premium highest, to force it closer to zero. We need to electrify every process possible, and get that electricity from a power grid that's been decarbonized. 

Covered in the book as things that individuals can do are have an efficient A/C or furnace, or even better, use an electric heat pump (heat pumps are in 11% of American homes), eat less meat, drive an electric car, have a smart thermostat, sign up for a green pricing program with your electric utility, and reduce home emissions. These are all important by themselves, but also as demand signals to governments and companies.