Outlining various environmental and economic issues that the world faces, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda Gates, laid out their vision for the future Monday in their annual letter. The world needs an "energy miracle" to tackle climate change, Bill Gates wrote, emphasizing that carbon dioxide emissions had to be eliminated completely to avoid long-term changes to the climate.
“Every day we are releasing more and more CO2 into our atmosphere and making our climate change problem even worse. We need a massive amount of research into thousands of new ideas — even ones that might sound a little crazy — if we want to get to zero emissions by the end of this century.” Gates said.
Citing a recent conversation with some high school kids as inspiration for the letter, Gates said that the students wanted to know, if given a choice, what superpower Bill and Melinda would pick — a question that struck a chord. While Bill chose “more energy,” Melinda chose “more time” and the letter was directed to teenagers instead of adults this year.
The Microsoft co-founder went on to chart the challenges faced by developers of new technologies to reduce carbon footprint and meet the rising energy demands of the world. “When I say 'miracle,' I don’t mean something that’s impossible. I’ve seen miracles happen before. The personal computer. The Internet. The polio vaccine. None of them happened by chance,” Gates said.
"There is a $3 trillion market per year for buying energy that is bigger than any prize anyone can come up with," Gates told Bloomberg Monday. "But the time it takes to develop this technology means you need slightly more patient capital. The normal venture capitalist model that has worked for biotech and worked for software is not quite right here.”