Bill Gates’ doubts aim to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees attainable

Bill Gates is photographed at the COP26 Climate Change Summit in Glasgow, Scotland on November 2, 2021.

EVAN VUCCI | AFP | Getty Images

LONDON. Bill Gates appears to have questioned whether the world can keep global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius, a sobering reminder of how much work needs to be done to meet climate targets.

Gates’ comments on global warming, made during the first week of the COP26 Climate Change Summit in Glasgow, are a reference to the Paris Agreement, which aims to “limit global warming to well below 2, preferably 1.5 degrees Celsius, over the previous period “. -industrial level “.

In an excerpt from the interview hosted by British lawmaker Jeremy Hunt for the Policy Exchange think tank, the billionaire was skeptical about the possibility of achieving this goal.

“It’s all about degrees, so to speak. So, you know, hitting 2.5 is better than hitting 3, hitting 2 is better than hitting 2.5, ”he said. “1.5 … will be very difficult, I doubt we can achieve this.”

The COP26 summit, postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, will take place six years after the historic Paris Agreement was signed by nearly 200 countries.

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The 1.5 degree Celsius threshold is an important global target as so-called tipping points are more likely outside of this level. Tipping points are associated with irreversible changes in the climate system that will lead to further global warming.

The Microsoft co-founder also said that “humanity has never achieved a feat comparable to what we need to do to combat climate change.”

Gates acknowledged that humanity “today is much richer, today is much more aware – we do have digital tools that allow us to work on these things.”

Developing his point of view, he said: “What happened to solar panels, which were very expensive and now cheap, or lithium-ion batteries, we need to do this for about six other technologies.”

Gates called “green” steel, cheap hydrogen and offshore wind, said it would take a lot of money and that there were “many ways to innovate.” He added that this innovation must be quick.

Asked by Hunt about how the UK is tackling climate issues, Gates praised. “The UK is really exemplary,” he said. “Coal started here, but there are times when UK coal emissions are zero.”

“I admit I was worried when they merged the climate and sales departments,” he said. In 2016, the UK government merged the Department of Energy and Climate Change with the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

“I thought, okay, won’t the climate get lost in this? In fact, it all happened right: a more business-oriented, analytical mindset came with people who knew about the climate. ”

“And I think that’s why the UK has made progress on this issue. No, the UK is getting very good marks for climate progress. ”

—Sam Meredith of CNBC contributed to this article.

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