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How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need (Paperback)
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • In this urgent, authoritative book, Bill Gates sets out a wide-ranging, practical—and accessible—plan for how the world can get to zero greenhouse gas emissions in time to avoid a climate catastrophe.
Bill Gates has spent a decade investigating the causes and effects of climate change. With the help of experts in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, political science, and finance, he has focused on what must be done in order to stop the planet's slide to certain environmental disaster. In this book, he not only explains why we need to work toward net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases, but also details what we need to do to achieve this profoundly important goal.
He gives us a clear-eyed description of the challenges we face. Drawing on his understanding of innovation and what it takes to get new ideas into the market, he describes the areas in which technology is already helping to reduce emissions, where and how the current technology can be made to function more effectively, where breakthrough technologies are needed, and who is working on these essential innovations. Finally, he lays out a concrete, practical plan for achieving the goal of zero emissions—suggesting not only policies that governments should adopt, but what we as individuals can do to keep our government, our employers, and ourselves accountable in this crucial enterprise.
As Bill Gates makes clear, achieving zero emissions will not be simple or easy to do, but if we follow the plan he sets out here, it is a goal firmly within our reach.
About the Author
Bill Gates is cochair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and founder of Breakthrough Energy. Bill founded Microsoft in 1975 with Paul Allen and led the company to become the worldwide leader in business and personal software and services. In 2008, Bill transitioned to focus full-time on his foundation’s work to expand opportunity to the world’s most disadvantaged people. As cochair, he leads the foundation’s development of strategies and sets the overall direction of the organization. Through his private office, Gates Ventures, he pursues his work on innovation in clean energy, Alzheimer’s disease and other healthcare issues, interdisciplinary education, and technology. At Breakthrough Energy, he’s putting his experience as an innovator and problem-solver to work to address climate change by supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs, big thinkers, and clean technologies. Bill uses his experience partnering with global leaders across sectors to help drive the policy, market, and technological changes required for a clean-energy transition. In 2010, Bill, Melinda French Gates, and Warren Buffett founded the Giving Pledge, an effort to encourage the wealthiest families and individuals to publicly commit more than half of their wealth to philanthropic causes and charitable organizations during their lifetime or in their will.
“Gates gathers advice from experts while laying out his vision for technological innovations that could reduce greenhouse gases and stop the warming of the planet. If even some of his plans work, this might be the most important book of the year.” —CNN
“One of the most accessible, practical, and interesting books on the topic to emerge since Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.” —Oprah Daily
“The most comprehensible explanation for what’s driving our warming planet; how to measure the impact of the myriad contributions to this staggering and seemingly incalculable problem; and ultimately how to go about finding more effective approaches to each of them. It’s the closest thing I’ve seen to a how-to guide for addressing the climate crisis.” —Clinton Leaf, Fortune
“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
“In this wonklike and persuasive book, Gates takes his environmental activism a bridge further, laying out an ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse emissions to zero by 2050. Drawing on data from researchers, policymakers, and engineers, Gates advocates for solutions both scientific (like developing alternative fuels) and personal (like increasing civic engagement in environmental justice issues). If you feel a radical shred of hope reading these galvanizing pages, dare to let in—without hope, we’ll get nowhere.” —Esquire
“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