Bill Gates has spent years, and billions of dollars, working to combat climate change.
The billionaire’s foundation has invested huge sums in various climate technology solutions While regularly sounding the alarm about Major contributors to climate changesuch as the greenhouse gas emissions caused by major energy and manufacturing companies burning fossil fuels at staggering rates.
But according to Gates, most people are still unaware of the role that one of the biggest contributors to climate change plays: agriculture, specifically methane emissions from livestock and fertilizer.
“Of all the climate zones, the one that people are probably least aware of is fertilizer and cows, and that presents a challenge,” Gates said recently on Twitter. latest episode From his “Unconfuse Me” podcast.
The topic came up because Gates was in conversation with musician and director Ahmed “Questlove” Thompson, who, Like GatesHe also happens to be an early investor in several plant-based food startups, such as Impossible, NotCo and neutral foods.
Thompson, who is from Philadelphia, recently partnered with Impossible to create a Vegan cheesesteak This he considers former President Barack Obama to be a fan, he told Gates.
Thompson told Gates that plant-based foods’ ability to mimic the taste of real meat, among other products, amazed him: “Something told me plant-based foods were going to be the future…and I want to be the one who grows these plants.” “Seed,” as he put it.
And while plant-based foods have gained support for those looking for alternatives to products made from animals, Gates said he began supporting plant-based food projects because of their potential to combat climate change.
“I came to it more from that climatic angle,” he said.
Gates has pointed out in the past that the agricultural industry contributes about 24 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, most of which stem from methane emissions from livestock and the fertilizers used to grow crops. According to the data from the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Indeed, if livestock were a “state,” Gates wrote in 2018, “it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases.” [in the world]”.
In his 2021 book How to Avoid Climate Catastrophe, Gates writes that combating climate change effectively will require people’s willingness to commit to new ideas, such as switching to electric cars and artificial meat.
in the same year, Gates argued He told MIT Technology Review that rich countries with the resources to do so “should move to 100% artificial beef” in order to measurably reduce global emissions from livestock.
“You can get used to the taste, and the claim is that they will make it taste better over time,” he said at the time. Ultimately, this green bonus is modest enough that you can kind of change [behavior of] people or use regulation to completely transform demand.”
Vegan meat sales still accounted for a mere small percentage Of the total meat market, even Gates admits it will be hard to convince enough people to stop eating real meat to make a significant difference.
One problem is that the products are still relatively new Currently more expensive of real meat. Still, Gates has a positive outlook That vegan meat companies will continue to improve their products, and lower their costs, will eventually help them become more popular.
It is for this reason that Gates and his foundation have financially backed startups and lab-grown meat companies such as Impossible, Beyond Meat, Neutral Foods, and. Rising Foods. Speaking to Thompson about plant-based meat startups, such as Impossible, Gates said, “They’re doing a good job, but a lot of people want him to make meat.” [the product] Even a little better.”
“They have a good road map, so I’m optimistic,” he said.
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