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How to Avoid a Climate Disaster (review)

Emelyn Buskirk
On Conflict (January 2023)
How to Avoid a Climate Disaster
written by Bill Gates and Josh Daniel
reviewed by Emelyn Buskirk

I can almost guarantee that there will be some parts of this book that you won’t like. This is especially true of the agricultural policies Bill Gates promotes and his advocacy of nuclear power to generate electricity. You may be, as I am, appalled by his great wealth. As Bernie Sanders says, it is obscene. But this book is so valuable that I ask you to look past those difficulties and see within Bill Gates a person with That of God within him. His philanthropic work shows that he listens to that Voice. It has given him a heart for the poor. An essential part of his plan is to encourage economic growth in poor countries. “It would be immoral and impractical to try to stop people who are lower on the economic ladder from climbing up.” Economic development in these countries would increase greenhouse gas emissions. That is part of the reason Gates sees innovation as essential.

This book is worth reading for the encouragement alone. The basic message is this: We have to get to zero emissions by 2050. It will be very difficult, but we can do it. Gates backs this up by presenting a strategy that includes many aspects of the solution. He breaks the problem down into five areas: energy, manufacturing, agriculture, transportation, and heating/air-conditioning. We humans will have to do a lot of things differently. The book describes them in detail. The message, “We can do it,” is a thread throughout the book. It also comes out as Gates describes how we can do it.

This book is full of facts and statistics, but I found it to be very readable anyway. Gates gives his coauthor, Josh Daniel, credit for this. Light touches help. For example, when they explain how cement production emits a lot of CO2, they start by describing how the process involves burning limestone, which contains calcium, carbon, and oxygen, and then they quip, “Given the presence of carbon and oxygen, you can probably see where this is going.” Personal stories, Gates describing his experiences, also make reading this book enjoyable. ~~~

Emelyn Buskirk is a member of Live Oak Friends Meeting in Salinas, CA (PacYM).


Bill Gates Climate action

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