Bill Gates is no stranger to taking action regarding global heating. The billionaire philanthropist has written a book on how to avoid climate disaster, has invested in a number of plant-based food companies, donates money to environmental causes, and is regularly interviewed about his thoughts on the state of our planet.
At the Climate Forward event in New York City during Climate Week in late September, Gates shared which group of people he believes will be key to mitigating the risks associated with our planet’s overheating.
“Republicans for climate change action are gold,” he said, per CNBC, adding that increasing the number of such voters and lawmakers who understand the importance of positive steps to reduce pollution and drive down worldwide temperatures is hugely important.
A 2022 survey from the Pew Research Center, summarized by CNBC, revealed that 78% of Democrats consider global heating a “major threat,” while only 23% of Republicans believe the same.
In his speech, Gates praised the Inflation Reduction Act in the United States, describing it as a “fantastic climate bill.” The measures have provided tax credits for the research and development of new technologies to provide alternatives to dirty fuel and find energy storage solutions, among other positive climate initiatives.
But the Microsoft co-founder also noted that such measures might not have a long shelf life, as a change in the ruling party in government could result in green policies being abandoned.
“We don’t have that much time to keep this thing intact,” he said. “It’s not guaranteed that tax credits necessarily last out the full 10 years, because they can be repealed if you get a change in political control.”
Among other things that Gates discussed at the event was how he believes planting trees is not the best way to encourage carbon capture. While the ability of plants and trees to remove planet-harming toxins from the air is proven, it takes a long time for trees to grow to their full potential.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Gates is advocating for a more technology-focused approach. For example, according to Observer.com, he is the largest individual client of Climeworks, a Swiss company that specializes in removing carbon from the air but also provides heat pumps and solar panels to low-income households.
Getting Republicans on board seems to be Gates’ next big goal, and understanding why this particular group of people has been more reluctant to accept climate science is essential.
A 2023 poll from the Associated Press and NORC at the University of Chicago has shown that 27% of Republicans have become more concerned about global heating in the past year, which is an encouraging statistic for Gates’ mission.
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