by Samantha Page Posted on June 30, 2015 at 4:43 pm
CREDIT: Screenshot via The Financial Times
Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and the richest man in the world, plans to double his billion-dollar investments in green technology in an effort to stave off catastrophic climate change, he told The Financial Times.
“Climate change is a big problem, but it’s one that if you do the right types of [research and development] you can actually avoid the ill effects,” Gates said.
Gates wants to expand his investment in alternatives to fossil fuels — and he wants alternatives even to our current renewable options. He said he thinks new technology is the only way to get truly low-cost clean energy, FT reported.
It’s true, renewable energy is often criticized for being too expensive (even though in many places, solar and wind are cost-competitive with traditional fossil fuel sources). But experts on solar — the fastest growing source of renewable energy — say what pushes costs down is not a “breakthrough” technology. It might not sound exciting, but it’s changes in policy and financial innovations that spur industry growth and could be the difference between transforming the energy grid soon, or too late.
Luckily, we already have scalable, workable technology for renewable energy. Expanding and improving those will get us further, faster than the “miracle” Gates called for.
The Future Is Now, Not Later
Most scientists agree that if we do not curb carbon emissions dramatically, there will be irreversible, catastrophic climate change by 2036. But it takes about 30 years for a new technology to enter the energy space, solar expert Jigar Shah told ThinkProgress.