Monday, February 15, 2010

Bill Gates Predicts Zero Emissions

I'm getting caught up on email and news after a couple of days of skiing with family at Alpine Meadows.  Little 5.5 month-old Sonora is really coming to life as a conscious being -- gleefully holding my menu in the restaurant last night as I ordered.  It's truly amazing raising a baby -- they seem to discover and do something new and unexpected almost every day, and each time, it brings no less of a smile to Suzanne and I's faces. 

Having conquered the President's Day traffic on the ride home (which at times left me yearning for the days when I lived in Portland and Boulder), I grew wide-eyed to read about Bill Gates' TED talk, in which he called for Zero Emissions.  As reported from WorldChanging:

On Friday, the world's most successful businessperson and most powerful philanthropist did something outstandingly bold, that went almost unremarked: Bill Gates announced that his top priority is getting the world to zero climate emissions.

Now, I'm not a member of the Cult of Bill myself (I'm typing this on a MacBook), but you don't have to believe that Gates has superhuman powers of prediction to know that his predictions have enormous power. People who will never listen to Al Gore, much to less someone like me, hang on Gates' every utterance.

And Friday, Gates predicted extraordinary climate action: zero. Not small steps, not incremental progress, not doing less bad: zero. In fact, he stood in front of a slide with nothing but the planet Earth and the number zero. That moment was the most important thing that has happened at TED.

What, exactly, did he say, and why is it so important?

Read more>>

Check out Joe Romm's rebuttal -- arguing that it isn't R & D energy technology miracles that we need (as Gates says), but mass deployment of existing technologies.

My take is 'why not both?' -- energy is a very different animal than getting computers, and then better computers, into every office and home.  But there's certainly a model in the proliferation of computers that can be tweeked to apply to the proliferation of clean energy technologies. What do you think?

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