Last week, Gates doubled down on his dedication to the cause but thinks telling celebs to curb their private jets is going a step too far — and not going to make any real change.
“Anyone who says that we will tell people to stop eating meat or stop wanting to have a nice house, and we’ll just basically change human desires, I think that that’s too difficult,” Gates told Akshat Rathi on the Zero podcast by Bloomberg in response to a question about whether or not new technologies were enough to fight back. “I mean, you can make a case for it. But I don’t think it’s realistic for that to play an absolutely central role.”
Gates said that “without innovation, you will never solve climate change” and noted that even if the world’s richest people were told to live a more sustainable lifestyle, it would do little — the world’s richest countries only account for one-third of worldwide emissions, he said.
“Those [remaining] two-thirds of emissions are pretty basic in terms of the calories and shelter and transport and goods being used,” Gates explained. “So the excesses of the rich countries … It may feel Calvinistically appropriate, but I’m looking at what the world has to do to get to zero, not using climate as a moral crusade.”
Gates most recently feuded with fellow billionaire Elon Musk over funding for climate change technologies after texts between the two men leaked in which Musk called Gates out for shorting Tesla.
“Sorry, but I cannot take your philanthropy on climate change seriously when you have a massive short position against Tesla, the company doing the most to solve climate change,” Musk confirmed he said via text message on Twitter.
Gates hit back at Musk’s accusation at the time by saying that he gives “a lot more money to climate change than Elon Musk or anyone else” and that shorting Tesla stock doesn’t hinder Musk’s capabilities in any way.
The Microsoft founder recently published a book about the climate crisis, aptly called “How to Avoid A Climate Disaster.”
As of Monday morning, his net worth was an estimated $105 billion.