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How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need Kindle Edition
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“How to Avoid a Climate Disaster presents ideas with the methodical approach of a college textbook . . . Remarkably, given the state of the world, it is an optimistic, can-do sort of book, chock-full of solutions.” —Christina Binkley, The Wall Street Journal Magazine
“The most refreshing aspect of this book is its bracing mix of cold-eyed realism and number-crunched optimism . . . Ultimately his book is a primer on how to reorganise the global economy so that innovation focuses on the world’s gravest problems. It is a powerful reminder that if mankind is to get serious about tackling them, it must do more to harness the one natural resource available in infinite quantity—human ingenuity.” —The Economist
“The author’s enthusiasm and curiosity about the way things work is infectious. He walks us through not just the basic science of global warming, but all the ways that our modern lives contribute to it . . . Gates seems energized by the sheer size and complexity of the challenge. That’s one of the best things about the book—the can-do optimism and conviction that science in partnership with industry are up to the task.” —Richard Schiffman, The Christian Science Monitor
“With the help of experts in fields such as physics, engineering, chemistry, finance and politics, the technologist and philanthropist offers a practical and accessible plan for getting the world to zero greenhouse gas emissions and averting climate catastrophe.” —Barbara VanDenburgh, USA Today
“How to Avoid a Climate Disaster is clear, concise on a colossal subject, and intelligently holistic in its approach to the problem. Gates may not be the perfect messenger, but he has written a fine primer on how to get ourselves out of this mess.” —Adama Vaughan, New Scientist
“Bill Gates has a plan to save the world . . . While acknowledging that the challenge is daunting, and how we make things, grow things, move around, keep cool and stay warm will all need to fundamentally change, Gates argues that wholesale transformation is possible while maintaining lifestyles in high income countries and continuing to lift billions out of poverty.” —Greg Williams, Wired
“His expertise . . . is apparent in the book’s lucid explanations of the scientific aspects of climate change. The solutions he outlines are pragmatic and grounded in forward-thinking economic reasoning. Although he does not avoid the hard truths we must face as our climate changes, Gates remains optimistic and believes that we have the ability to avoid a total climate disaster.” —Miriam R. Aczel, Science
“Concise, straightforward . . . Gates has crafted a calm, reasoned, well-sourced explanation of the greatest challenge of our time and what we must change to avoid cooking our planet.” —Jeff Rowe, Associated Press
“A persuasive, optimistic strategy for reducing greenhouse emissions to zero by midcentury . . . Though Gates doesn’t shy away from acknowledging the daunting challenges ahead, his narrative contains enough confidence—and hard science and economics—to convince many readers that his blueprint is one of the most viable yet . . . supremely authoritative and accessible.” ––Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Those looking for an accessible review of how global warming can be countered will find this a handy—and maybe even hope-inspiring—guide.” ––Publishers Weekly
“Gates has put his considerable wealth behind global health, educational, and economic initiatives and now turns his laser-like attention to this most existential of issues . . . He provides illuminating contexts for [his] perspectives and offers a treatise that is imperative, approachable, and useful.” ––Booklist
- ASIN : B07YRY461Y
- Publisher : Knopf (February 16, 2021)
- Publication date : February 16, 2021
- Language : English
- File size : 36158 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 256 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #8,877 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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So after blindly accepting, the consensus position on climate science he then proceeds to tell us what we must do to combat his hypothesized scourge of climate change. Later he implores the governments of the world to unite in forcing us to do what he wants.
In my opinion, this is a very shallow look at a complex topic. It is more of a propaganda pamphlet than a serious book. Bill Gates should do his homework for his next book. Not recommended.
Very disappointed but not surprised. Automatic fail.
To his credit, Gates doesn’t get bogged down and techie in this book. There’s enough data and science to support his assertions to make them seem reasonable, providing everyone holds hands and plays nice; providing everyone involved in fossil fuels just rolls over and drinks the KoolAid, no job required anytime soon, anywhere close to home.
There are lots of examples for how things can improve rather quickly, what they will potentially cost, how rich countries can and should help poor countries; there are countless opportunities for involvement should readers find themselves motivated for service. Once again I’m struck by the complete absence of the need for political support and cooperation. Does he REALLY think that a change from red to blue will move this project forward so easily?
Gates continues fly around on his private jet while working on this issue. Incongruous? Oxymoronic? Perhaps it’s just plain entitlement, but it doesn’t make for good optics. There are other options and as he said repeatedly in the book, “hard choices need to be made”. Maybe not by everyone?
No doubt I’ll be in the minority on this one but I’m a fan of the reality bus. All the good writing and professional publishing in the world cannot sweep away the fact that what we truly need is cooperation from our elected officials at EVERY level. So far, the price of gas for cars in the NE, (I drive a hybrid), has risen 20% since January 20th; that hurts. It’s too soon to understand the impact this white, cold winter will have on my heating budget. According to my “green provider”, I’m running ahead of last year but more efficient than others in my area. It’s many degrees colder and we had ZERO snow last year. This should be way more fun than huddling under a blanket with my pup in relative darkness each night; yup - hard choices📚
Top reviews from other countries
Bill Gates goes for the much more practical, “So what can we do about it now?” approach. This book is basically his plan to cut our carbon emissions from 51 billion tonnes to zero by 2050. That’s it in a nutshell. If we don’t then, like a bath, with even just a slow dripping tap, we’ll end up overflowing and facing some of the consequences that Wallace-Wells laid out in his earlier work.
To do this, in this enormously readable book, Gates takes us through where the emissions come from, and examines ways to work through each of those sectors, which he breaks down into making things, plugging in, growing things, getting around and keeping warm and cool.
He tackles each in turn, although he notes that we spend a lot of time thinking about “getting around” – aka transport – which accounts for 16% of net emissions, but not so much on making steel and concrete. The food industry also gets a good look-in.
Gates is putting his money where his mouth is. Throughout the book he talks about the various companies he’s invested in. This could sound a bit, “Aren’t I clever?” but it doesn’t. He’s just being practical. It comes from the work he and his wife Melinda have carried out through their Gates Foundation in doing very practical things like fighting malaria. So he’s constantly referring to people he’s met, and businesses he’s keenly following.
And throughout, he is very pragmatic. Only a few of us are willing – or even able – to pay a “Green Premium” for some of life’s essentials. He readily acknowledges that the lower the income you are in, the bigger a proportion of your overall costs something like transport will be. So paying even a small premium is simply not affordable. He’s also very aware that the big growth in greenhouse gases is likely to come from developing parts of the world where billions are coming to expect the same kinds of middle-class lifestyles that Americans and Europeans have experienced.
So, what are the solutions? Well, this isn’t really a list of things that you or I can do directly – assuming neither of us is a world leader. There are some of those things, but this is more about policy as well as corporate and governmental support and investment. When we buy the cheapest concrete or steel, there is no carbon-cost attached to it. There’s no incentive to use the greener materials.
And where there are financial incentives, they don’t necessarily help. The energy industry is rife with them, but they protect the enormously cheap fossil fuel industry. On the other hand, laws might make it ridiculously hard to build things like windfarms (a particular problem, seemingly, in the US).
There are things which make you raise your eyebrows a bit. Gates doesn’t believe that just planting lots of trees will fix things. He’s got nothing against trees but I think sees them as a too simplistic solution that will require ongoing care to payback their investment over centuries. He is a big proponent of nuclear fuel, pointing out that while wind and solar energy are fantastic, they don’t provide consistent power. And even though at heart, Gates is a technologist through and through, he doesn’t see battery technology meaningfully moving on, which causes difficulties if you need to store vast amounts of power to even out supply on windless or cloudy days.
Some will look at Gates, flying around in his private jet and wonder if he really practices what he preaches? He acknowledges his own shortcomings, but I think this book shows that he is indeed putting his money where his mouth is.
Getting to net zero will not be easy, as he repeats throughout, but it’s achievable and he’s laid out a plan to get us there.
This is a very readable book which I found hard to put down ( I read it over 3 evenings). It gives clear facts and makes recommendations that make sense, for example the need for more research and development spending and the problems of existing investment in clean tech due to higher costs, risks and long term payback particularly in energy systems.
Finally, the impact on the world economy of COVID-19 reduced emissions by 5%. Bill Gates was surprised by how little this was given the economic shock showing our reliance on fossil fuels in our daily lives. Change is possible but it has to come soon.