American businessman Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, recently published a book entitled “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need.” In 12 chapters, Gates explains, in an easy and understandable manner, for all segments of society, the possible implications of the climate crisis. He proposes a plan and steps that can be followed at the official and public level to control global warming, using modern technology and the accumulative awareness of people.
In the introduction, the author explains that his interest in the climate crisis is not far away and dates back to 2006, when he met at that time an elite of scientists specializing in the field of climate. They elaborated on the links between greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. This matter aroused his curiosity, in parallel with his constant interest in the issue of energy poverty, and the deprivation of electrical services in some regions and villages in the African and Asian continents.
Gates has devised a theoretical roadmap aimed at eliminating carbon emissions completely, not reducing it as some advocate. This is to eliminate the economic, human and environmental costs that can result from these continued emissions.
In his book, he insisted on the need to get rid of 51 billion tons of greenhouse gases that are added to the atmosphere annually, to reach zero emissions by 2050.
The American businessman also explained ways and how to eliminate those tons of emissions that consist of five sources. The use of renewable energy sources and the reduction of fossil fuels would represent about 27% of the required reductions, in addition to changing the methods of manufacturing goods, which could achieve reductions of 31%. This can all contribute to changing the way you grow food, reduce travel, and keep buildings warm or cool, reducing emissions by 18%, 16% and 6%, respectively.
In sum, as we have repeatedly emphasized on the columns of this glorious newspaper, climate change is human-induced on the systems that sustain life, from the highest mountains to the depths of the oceans, which leads to an acceleration of sea level rise, with ripple effects on ecosystems and human security.
By 2050, the number of people at risk of floods will increase from its current level of 1.2 billion to 1.6 billion. Based on preliminary data, scientists suggest that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will reach new record levels. Scientists expected that the average temperature for the coming period will be 1.1 degrees Celsius higher than that which prevailed in the period 1850-1900, according to the report issued by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which includes the latest data on Earth’s temperature.
But what was absent in Gates’s book is to give a viable vision for making the countries of the world take real decisions in this field instead of staying in the endless world of theorizing, especially after the successive setbacks in this field, which have embraced many agreements concluded in recent years in favor of the environment and the future of the universe and humanity. In addition, the previous US administration decided to withdraw from the international climate agreement. This sparked legitimate anger at the time because the international efforts that we have followed for more than a decade and a half, whose protagonists were powerful international individuals, international organizations, governmental and non-governmental institutions, and civil organizations, and spent billions of dollars in them and witnessed many arduous international negotiations and successive meetings stopped due to the gradual withdrawal of the most powerful and polluting countries.
The agreement was signed by 194 countries, and the international community pledges to limit global warming and keep it “below 2 degrees Celsius,” compared to the pre-industrial era, and to “pursue efforts to stop the temperature rise at 1.5 degrees Celsius.” This necessitates drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions by taking measures to reduce energy consumption, invest in alternative energies and reforestation.
All these beautiful rules were laid down in Paris and then Marrakech, but they remain hostage to the motors of the world order and the desires of the great powers. Marrakesh is not ready to restructure its industries and way of life, and it thinks about the votes of the electorate and the influential industrial lobbies more than the future of the globe.
Contributed by Ahmad El-Assasy