climate-change #books #monthlyreading

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🌍 I finished reading Bill Gate's book "How to avoid a climate disaster". It's a super interesting take, and it packs lots of topics to learn and discuss, including a very concise message for entrepreneurs.

The first thing I enjoyed, is that it dissects the problem into 5 big groups of challenges based on the total amount of emissions:

  • Making Things
  • Generating Electricity
  • Moving around
  • Agriculture
  • Staying warm and cool

And he also discusses the value of policies, lifting the burden from individual action.

In a nutshell, the book explains the need for a massive overhaul of the electric grid, and the lack of alternatives for manufacturing. For example, there are no green alternatives to making steel and cement. Carbon capture technologies may be the only path forward.

In the book, Bill Gates also discusses the risk of focusing on short-term goals. Lowering emissions by 2030 and decarbonizing by 2050 are not necessarily compatible. Replacing a coal-powered plant by a a gas-fired one is aligned with reductions. However, a gas plant will be operational for more than 20 years, hindering the chances of reaching net-zero by mid-century.

💡 Something I appreciated, and that may be extrapolated to every starting entrepreneur is that Bill Gates judges ideas by the size of the solution.

In a world where resources are limited, he sorts the projects in which he invests by the total amount of CO2 that the solution will remove. The size of the problem is clear: 52 billion tons of CO2 are emitted every year. On the other hand, if the solution does not provide at least a 1% potential reduction it's not worth for him to pursue.

🌏 Although the book is very focused on the United States, it acknowledges that inequality creates extra challenges.

Millions of people have no access to electricity. Millions have no stable sources of food. Are we going to deny them a better life from our comfortable heat-pump climatized homes? Or are we going to tackle these inequalities within the decarbonization strategies?

The future ahead is challenging, and we are the generation that must make it happen.


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Aquiles Carattino
Aquiles Carattino
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