If we want to make a massive leap in energy, Bill Gates has a solution: Let the richest one percent of America foot the bill. He even says he'll throw in the first $2 billion.
In a recent interview with The Atlantic, Gates opines that we must invent our way out of the global climate change crisis. By 2050, he hopes that China and the U.S. are no longer putting any carbon into the atmosphere. Gates, who happens to be the richest man in the world, has committed $2 billion dollars to research and development into green energy, even going after skeptics of the government's ability to solve the issue.
"Yes, the government will be somewhat inept," he told The Atlantic . "But the private sector is in general inept. How many companies do venture capitalists invest in that go poorly? By far most of them."
Gates' comments come at a crucial time for climate talks, as world leaders are meeting in Paris this week to discuss the growing threat. His idea is pretty simple: instead of going after one green energy solution, we should test them all and figure out which ones work best.
"What we're asking ourselves to do here is change energy—and that includes all of transport, all of electricity, all of household usage, and all of industrial usage," he said. "And those are all huge areas of usage."
Gates admitted that seemingly obvious solutions like buying electric cars may not actually make sense ("there are places where if you buy an electric car, you're actually increasing CO2 emissions"), but that doesn't mean a little research couldn't help. He even compared our reaction to cancer, and how the government sinks about $5 billion of health research into cancer each year, which resulted in the private sector creating breakthrough drugs.
"Realistically, we may not get more than a doubling in government funding of energy R&D," he said. "But I would love to see a tripling, to $18 billion a year from the U.S. government to fund basic research alone... people like myself, who can afford to take big risks with start-up companies, should."
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