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Climate change and the 75% problem

"To stop the planet from getting substantially warmer, we need breakthroughs in how we make things, grow food, and move people and goods—not just how we power our homes and cars....The world’s middle class has been growing at an unprecedented rate, and as you move up the income ladder, your carbon footprint expands. "


Maria Kiefer's picture

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on May 21, 2020 4:36 pm GMT

The world’s middle class has been growing at an unprecedented rate, and as you move up the income ladder, your carbon footprint expands.

This seems to be the uncomfortable truth-- we want to continue growth, bring up populations to greater qualities of life, but with that comes the expanded global footprint. Of course the solution isn't to say that people shouldn't move up the income ladder, nor to suggest we change that goal. But it's finding ways for those who are already atop the ladder to have their needs met more sustainably-- cleaner energy, less waste, etc. But it's a tough spot to be in for sure. We're lucky to have Bill Gates taking these issues so close to heart

Maria Kiefer's picture
Maria Kiefer on May 21, 2020 4:52 pm GMT

It is indeed, but there are some signs of hope in this area when it comes to the microgrid approaches becoming more wide-spread and some preliminary research around reducing poverty and carbon impact.  This was another article I thought was interesting on that topic:  Getting people out of poverty and older homes helps cities cut emissions.

Obviously there's no magic solution, but definitely some reason for hope that we can find ways to increase standards of living while simultanously reducing carbon impacts across the board.  There are a few countries in South East Asia that have started to prove that you don't have to choose between increased GDP and sustainable energy solutions!

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on May 21, 2020 11:17 pm GMT

Maria, on Bill Gates's list of forward goals defined in his Landscape of Innovation, "Next-Generation Nuclear Fission" is the #1 priority.

What about solar, wind in renewable energy? Though publicly Gates is circumspect on the subject, in private he's painfully direct:

Bill Gates Slams Unreliable Wind and Solar Energy (video)

Rick Engebretson's picture
Rick Engebretson on May 24, 2020 11:57 am GMT

It was great finding Bill Gates blog and interest in agriculture and soils. I also appreciate your focus on "distributed generation."

Without elaborating, I'll mention a proposal from 1987 advocating "recycled plastic livestock septic tanks," when this area of Minnesota had many dairy farms. Now that plastic is killing the Pacific Ocean, cow farts, soil fertility, and distributed generation are discussion topics, maybe the windmill politicos won't attack you.

Also worth mentioning, hay crops are the only crop not processed for added value. There might be a trick or two to separate the cellulose from nutrient, making non-ruminant livestock feed.

Several videos around, but the classic "The Plow That Broke the Plains, ca. 1937" is a good reminder for sustainable agriculture.

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