Bill Gates. Author: MARTIAL TREZZINI. Source: KEYSTONE
This book burst into the information space suddenly and immediately entered the top 5 bestsellers on Amazon. It gave rise to the next round of global discussion, which involved well-known officials, politicians, journalists, scientists, bloggers… Ukrainian business leaders did not pass by this event either.
Vasyl Khmelnytsky, the founder of the holding company UFuture, recommends this book as a must-read for a reason. He considers its ideas to be extremely relevant for the world and worthy of being the subject of discussion at the next Kiev International Economic Forum. On the eve of this event, Khmelnytsky will share his insights with the readers of the almanac Huxleў.
So, Vasyl Khmelnitsky about the book by Bill Gates “How to avoid a climate disaster: where we are now and what we should do next?”
RESULTS OF TEN YEARS OF WORK
For over a decade, Bill Gates, the legendary Microsoft founder, philanthropist and innovative investor, has collected material for this book. He has done colossal research work and personally invested hundreds of millions of dollars in developing innovations that could solve the climate problem in the future.
As a result, the long-awaited work entitled How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need was published on February 16, 2021. It was published in the original language thanks to the American publishing house Knopf, and the Ukrainian edition became possible with the support of the CEO Club Ukraine business community.
WE HUNG A SWORD OF DAMOCLES OVER THE WORLD
The attention of entrepreneurs to the topic of climate change is not accidental. Innovative technologies and the transition of mankind to clean energy are not only the mission of our generation. It is also a multi-billion dollar investment by private companies and governments to make clean technology affordable and profitable for the mass consumer.
It is clear that such a development of events is perceived by one part of the traditional business as a potential threat, and by the other as a promising trend and a new development opportunity. We can say that humanity needs a global pragmatic “business plan” that will help to reduce annual emissions of 51 billion tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere to 0.
For man to be able to survive as a biological species and preserve life on the planet, we will have to overcome this distance. The time has come to recognize that irreversible climate change is the result of the industrial revolution, high living standards and mass consumption, primarily in developed countries. That is, global warming is the sword of Damocles, which humanity itself hung over the planet.
IT’S TIME TO GO FROM ILLUSIONS TO PLAN
Gates’ book is a very pragmatic view of the global business leader on the problem of climate. In the language of irrefutable figures and facts, he easily explains how close we all have come to a catastrophe and what each of us must do – at his own level of responsibility to avoid it. This book will definitely sober up those who perceive the climate problem as too global, far-fetched, far from their personal everyday concerns.
There are those who believe that the life potential of the planet will be enough for their lifetime, and then – at least the grass will not grow. Unfortunately, this opinion is shared not only by some short-sighted people, but also by some governments, representatives of big business and world communities. They are under the illusion that while they are making money, someone else will take care of the planet.
THE RICH AND THE POOR: THE DIFFERENCE IN POSITION
In 2015, 197 states signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Protection, thereby committing themselves to combating global warming. Its goal is to prevent, by the end of the century, an increase in average air temperature, which will lead to devastating consequences for the planet. It is good that such an agreement has been signed. But it’s bad that not everyone is going to fulfill it. In reality, rich and poor countries view the problem differently.
It is already obvious that developing countries will choose to fight for the growth of their economies, while violating the rules of the Paris Agreement. It means that the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere cannot be significantly reduced. As a result, we see that glaciers and snow continue to melt, so the surface of the earth ceases to reflect light as before, and the temperature of the earth and water is steadily increasing.
Over the past ten years, we have consistently witnessed an increase in the number of fires, floods and other natural disasters. Alas, even those who are aware of the seriousness of this situation do not fully understand how to deal with the inevitability of global warming.
Gates argues that it is extremely difficult, but potentially possible. His book is devoid of inappropriate optimism in this case, but at the same time it offers a completely logical and pragmatic plan of action.
A REAL CHANGE REQUIRES A REAL EFFORT
I was personally impressed by Gates’ cited fact that the 2020 lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic reduced greenhouse gas emissions only marginally. Although it seemed to us that the world froze – air traffic stopped, consumption fell to a record level, the global and local economies suffered colossal losses, millions of people died, and tens of millions were left without work… But the world “won” only 5% of the annual “Norms” of environmental pollution: we have emitted into the atmosphere not 51 billion, but 48-49 billion tons of carbon dioxide.
It suggests that humanity should not hope that such “black swans” as the coronavirus, by themselves, will spontaneously change the situation for the better. Every inhabitant of the planet must realize his measure of responsibility, making purposeful, conscious efforts to solve climatic and environmental problems.
THE NEED FOR AN INTEGRATED APPROACH
Using the example of one country, it is easy to understand the principle that Gates describes in his book: the efforts of just one business will not be enough. In Ukraine, on a systematic basis, I stimulate the development of innovations related, among other things, to green energy, waste recycling, the sharing economy, and education. However, I think that it is not enough.
We need massive popularity of ideas about a climate catastrophe, a change in the culture of consumption at all levels, significantly more R&D centers, as well as systemic support from states. Solar and wind power plants should be a priority, although a renewable energy alone will not solve all the problems. It is necessary to look for opportunities for the safe use of atomic energy, develop new technologies, and look for non-standard, comprehensive approaches in the energy sector.
CLIMATE IS A QUESTION OF UKRAINIAN NATIONAL SECURITY
The need for it can be understood through simple examples. Take electric cars, for example. In the nearest future, they should become much cheaper and more reliable than gasoline cars in order to be affordable and profitable for the mass consumer. But that would mean a complete reboot of the giant auto industry. That is, the owners of the concerns should also benefit from it.
For it, governments are obliged to make a willful decision – to introduce a tax on CO₂ emissions. Only comprehensive incentives will allow us to change in a short time. If we talk about Ukraine, then it is still outside this trend. The massive import of old gasoline and diesel cars from all over the world to its territory is not slowing down… How well do we realize that Ukraine, as an export-oriented agrarian country, will suffer greatly from climate change?
Indeed, for us, it is a matter of national security. Therefore, we must have an adequate plan, a clear idea of what and how we are doing. Do Ukrainian companies and the state have the appropriate resources, mechanisms and adaptation strategies? Are our small farms ready for climate change? Are our building standards, water and air quality suitable for the new climatic conditions? Do we meet the requirements for the disposal of household and industrial waste?
The Ukrainian society will have to look for answers to these questions with all seriousness. In my opinion, the book by Bill Gates can help us with it. Therefore, in conclusion, I will allow myself in a condensed form to cite a number of ideas and theses from it, which seemed to me the most important and interesting.