Book Review: How To Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates

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 toward 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.

What I Thought:

I know what you’re thinking, as I thought it too for a while – ‘Why do we need billionaire Bill Gates preaching to us about climate change?’. But it’s obvious from this book that Bill Gates is the type of billionaire that is using his money to try and better the planet we’re living on, and not abandoning it to travel into space – so far so good.

From reading How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, you can see how Bill Gates’ philanthropy in the fields of global poverty, disease and education led to an understanding that those issues are intrinsically tied to climate. Climate change disproportionately affects those in developing countries, from families farming smallholdings and suffering the effects of drought to weather changes causing extreme weather events. It’s clear that we all play a part in preserving the planet, but in this book, Bill Gates focuses on industrial and large-scale environmental programmes that can reassure us that there are people out there looking at the bigger picture.

Environmental policy – particularly in this country – seems to be a series of ministers wringing their hands, promising net zero, and then failing to implement the policies they have put in place. It seems, more and more, up to us as consumers to demand better from producers, while clearing up the messes that their products have been made.

While you’re recycling crisp packets, or litter picking your local area it can seem like you’re the only one who cares, but this book goes some way to reaasure that there are people looking at the high-end, technological solutions that could help us avoid calamity.

There are some fascination projects included in this book, many of which we wouldn’t even think of as individuals. The experts that Bill Gates has spoken to are working innovatively to produce real results that go way beyond carbon capture and recycling. Although this book is not a fun read in the traditional sense, it is hopeful and encouraging if you ever feel like you’re trying to save the planet by yourself!

About the Author:

Bill Gates is a technologist, business leader, and philanthropist. He grew up in Seattle, Washington, with an amazing and supportive family who encouraged his interest in computers at an early age. He dropped out of college to start Microsoft with his childhood friend Paul Allen. Today, Bill co-chairs the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with Melinda French Gates, where he works to give his wealth back to society.

Bill grew up in Seattle with his two sisters. His late father, William H. Gates Sr., was a Seattle attorney and one of the co-chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. His late mother, Mary Gates, was a schoolteacher, University of Washington regent, and chairwoman of United Way International. Bill has three children.

You can find out more about some of the projects Bill Gates is involved in on his blog at GatesNotes.

Please note: I received a copy of this book via Netgalley for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

This entry was posted in Book Review and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.