It is the rich countries’ responsibility to accelerate climate change innovation, Bill Gates said during the Breakthrough Energy Summit 2022. The inaugural event is organized by Breakthrough Energy, a group of organizations established by Gates in 2015 that aim to bring down greenhouse gas emissions.
While most global warming emissions come from developing economies, low- and middle-income economies should not be expected to slow down their economic development in favor of climate change mitigation, the billionaire philanthropist said.
The planet has to go from 51 billion emissions to zero in the next three centuries to fight climate change, Bill Gates wrote in his essay “The state of the energy transition,” which was published on his blog yesterday.
Since countries like the United States owe much of their current wealth to the burning of fossil fuels, now they should be the ones that fund innovation in climate technology, Gates said. “It is both unrealistic and unfair to expect [low- and mid-income countries] to forgo a more comfortable life because that carbon turned out to change the climate,” Gates wrote.
The annual reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change show that the scenarios that aimed to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 or 2 degrees are becoming more and more unrealistic, he said.
We need to create and deploy technologies that enable the same economic development as burning fossil fuels, but without releasing harmful emissions, the founder of Breakthrough Energy said. Decreasing global emissions would require bringing the green premium – or the difference between the costs of cleaner and conventional alternatives – down to zero.
Government intervention will be needed to achieve this, Gates said, despite his strong belief in the power of markets.