Bill Gates shares what he's learned in more than a decade of studying climate change and investing in innovations to address the problems, and sets out a vision for how the world can build the tools it needs to get to zero greenhouse gas emissions.
Bill Gates explains why he cares so deeply about climate change and what makes him optimistic that the world can avoid the most dire effects of the climate crisis. Gates says, "We can work on a local, national, and global level to build the technologies, businesses, and industries to avoid the worst impacts of climate change". His interest in climate change is a natural outgrowth of the efforts by his foundation to reduce poverty and disease. Climate change, according to Gates, will have the biggest impact on the people who have done the least to cause it. As a technologist, he has seen first-hand how innovation can change the world. By investing in research, inventing new technologies, and by deploying them quickly at large scale, Gates believes climate change can be addressed in meaningful ways. According to Gates, "to prevent the worst effects of climate change, we have to get to net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases. This problem is urgent, and the debate is complex, but I believe we can come together to invent new carbon-zero technologies, deploy the ones we have, and ultimately avoid a climate catastrophe."
Bill Gates is a technologist, business leader, and philanthropist.
"Gates' book is compulsively readable. His ambition was to 'cut through the noise' and give consumers better tools for understanding what works, an ambition he meets admirably. It more than that, however. Gates can get an audience with anyone, can marshal almost limitless resources, and is dogged in the detail. The result – particularly in the wake of the Trump presidency – is thrilling"
– Emma Brockes, The Guardian
"Of the many books I have come across recently making the case that climate change will be a catastrophe, but we can do something about it, this is the best [...] The relentless practicality of the book combined with Gates's firm faith in innovation do not promote despair. He exudes optimism; things will get better, not least because, as John Lennon once sang, they can't get no worse"
– Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times
"It is mostly concerned with solutions rather than problems. This already marks it out as something of an outlier within environmental literature [...] if you're after an approachable book about what needs to happen next, this is a great place to start"
– Ed Conway, The Times
"Bold but well argued [...] a compelling explanation of how the world can stop global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions effectively to zero [...] [Gates] is a serious and genuine force for good on climate change"
– Bob Ward, Observer
"How to Avoid a Climate Disaster is clear, concise on a colossal subject, and intelligently holistic in its approach to the problem."
– Adam Vaughan, New Scientist
"It all makes for a meaty manifesto which Gates hopes can offer sufficient variety to appeal across political divides and "shift the conversation" away from the polarisation and misinformation that has clouded discussion about climate change up until now."
– Martin Bentham, Evening Standard
"Books about the environment can induce a paralysing despair. The billionaire Bill Gates is a can-do, problem-solving chap, and his book is full of detailed, practical plans"
– The Times
"Gates's carefully packaged nuggets of information are not only easy to understand, but they aim to provide the reader with practical tools to engage with the density of climate change information [...] What Gates has achieved with his book is something rare in the swelling arena of popular climate literature. The Microsoft co-founder turned philanthropist has compiled a solutions-based strategy that is as informed on the commercial realities of scaling new technologies as it is on the environmental consequences of not doing so."
– Daniel Murray, The Business Post
"The most refreshing aspect of this book is its bracing mix of cold-eyed realism and number-crunched optimism [...] Ultimately [Gates's] book is a primer on how to reorganise the global economy so that innovation focuses on the world's gravest problems. It is a powerful reminder that if mankind is to get serious about tackling them, it must do more to harness the one natural resource available in infinite quantity-human ingenuity."
"Gates plots out, in patient, simple prose, a pathway that would allow us to reduce carbon emissions from the current 51 billion tonnes a year to zero by 2050."
– Thomas Jones, London Review of Books
""System change not climate change!" cry the protesters, demanding that we choose between capitalism and a healthy planet. "Oh!" the less ascetically minded among us might pout. "Can't we have both?" Thankfully, according to Bill Gates, we can. In How to Avoid a Climate Disaster he outlines the new technologies we need to fight climate change, and how businesses can help to invent and deploy them. Capitalism is not only capable of stopping climate change, he says, it's also the only way to provide a decent standard of living to the world's poorest."
– Ben Cooke, The Times Books of the Year
"This is an optimistic account of how climate change might be solved without destroying the world's economies in the process."
– The Times