2030 Is Coming Up Fast: Here’s What We Do to Avoid a Climate Disaster Bill Gates Lays Out Exactly How We get to Net-Zero

Noelle Ihli

2030 Is Coming Up Fast: Here’s How to Avoid a Climate Disaster

Bill Gates Lays Out Exactly How We get to Net-Zero  

Over the past several decades, leaders and citizens worldwide have mobilized to research, develop, and deploy plans and technologies to combat the climate crisis. 

But the problem is so complex, multi-layered, and fraught with conflict that it can be challenging to see a clear path forward.  

In How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, author Bill Gates cuts through the confusion with a plan to reach net-zero emissions before it’s too late.

Infrastructure by 2030, Net Zero by 2050

The vast majority of scientists agree that to avoid catastrophic climate collapse, we must reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

Contrary to some misconceptions, “net zero” doesn’t mean zero carbon emissions. Instead, it means returning to a balanced state where green technology and cleaner fuel sources—particularly zero-carbon electricity—allow the earth to reabsorb as much carbon as we emit. 

Unfortunately, much of the industrialized world still relies on environmentally harmful food production methods, fossil fuels for transportation and manufacturing, and unsustainable energy sources. Hitting net zero won’t be easy, but according to Gates, it’s possible if we create infrastructure to start reducing emissions by 2030. 

A Three-Pronged Plan for a Sustainable Future

If the world wants to reach net zero by 2050, these three areas of focus are vital: 

  1. Ramp up Supply and Demand for Green Tech

Both supply and demand for green tech must increase dramatically as 2030 approaches. Here’s how the public and private sectors can make that happen.

On the Supply Side 

  • Increase R&D funding for inexpensive, reliable zero-carbon electricity.  
  • Prioritize projects with the most significant impact on net emissions.
  • Encourage collaboration among industry leaders to develop new technology.

On the Demand Side 

  • Educate consumers and make low-cost, high-quality green tech readily available.  
  • Incentivize government agencies to buy sustainable tech and bring products to market. 
  • Update antiquated regulations and reward early adoption of green products.

  1. Develop Clean Fuel to Power Green Tech

All that new green tech will need power—specifically zero-carbon electricity–to run. So as nations worldwide push for advancements and innovations in green tech, society must invest in renewable energy sources.

We already have the technology to deploy clean power sources. We just need to use them. Coal and natural gas currently supply 60% of the world’s electricity. To decarbonize electricity, we’ll need to do the following: 

  • Reconceive the power grid with a focus on expanding infrastructure.
  • Harness renewable resources like solar, geothermal energy, and wind. 
  • Invest in reliable carbon-free energy sources like nuclear fission and fusion. 
  • Tax carbon emissions in the public and private sectors to incentivize the shift.

  1. Retire Out-of-Date Equipment 

Retiring old carbon-heavy equipment is as vital to reaching net zero as creating green tech and investing in renewable energy. Here’s how we accomplish that: 

  • Create and enforce regulations that phase out older equipment.
  • Implement a phased equipment-retirement schedule far in advance of 2050.

Incremental Change Can Add Up to Zero

This three-part plan is anything but easy. But as public and private sector leaders and individuals work together to create incremental change and prioritize progress to fight climate chaos, we can reach net zero by 2050. 

How can you help? Put your vote and purchasing power into action. Find out where your local and congressional representatives stand on this topic and support the ones that align with your values. Buy from businesses that prioritize renewable energy and resources. And most importantly, use your voice! Share this article on Twitter, along with your favorite quote, using #HowtoAvoidaClimateDisaster.

About the author

Noelle is a content creator, author, and editor. She lives in Idaho with her husband, two sons, and two cats. When she's not writing, she's either reading a good book or scaring herself with true-crime documentaries.

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