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Critical Analysis: How To Avoid a Climate Disaster

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster outlines the changes that must be made in order to reverse the impacts of decades of disastrous actions. According to Gates, we need to eliminate 51 billion metric tons of greenhouse emissions from the atmosphere annually (Gates, 2021). Failure to do so will cost millions of lives than the 1.5 million already lost to Covid-19, and may result in five times the number of deaths as the Spanish flu did a century ago, according to him. Bill Gates has long been a proponent of climate change measures, and his latest book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, lays out what he feels the world should focus on in order to accelerate its efforts to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Gates, ever the technologist, lays out a strategy for eradicating those 51 billion tons of greenhouse gases and attaining net zero carbon emissions by 2050 (Gates, 2021). People would have to use more renewables and less fossil fuels (which would account for around 27% of the decrease in emissions required), as well as change how we produce goods (31%), grow food (18%), travel (16%), and keep our houses warm or cool (16%).

Gates is correct about the problem’s scope and urgency. The term “global warming,” does not fully describe the severity of storms, extreme weather events, floods, and dry spells that are putting earth on track to achieving temperatures never seen in millions of years. As this book demonstrates, it also fails to adequately reflect the world’s largest market failure and the most complex global collective action problem ever.

The main argument of the book is that indeed, there are practical solutions to addressing the causes of climate disaster going on. Gates believes that the world can completely eliminate the 51 billion tons of greenhouse gases emitted every year (Gates, 2021). It is not possible to disregard that people need electricity, particularly, the 800 million of the world’s poorest people. Thus, Gates has devised a strategy to produce clean energy while lowering its costs. Solar, wind, wave energy, electric vehicles, battery storage, remote sensing monitoring, and smart grids have all seen price reductions as a result of scientific progress. However, if provision of inexpensive renewable energy to happen, people ought to go even further. Gates wants an urgent doubling of climate-related research and development, as well as what he terms “a renewable portfolio standard” of power cost.

Investing in nuclear fusion as well as getting energy from heated rocks underground; carbon mineralization; ocean carbon extraction to de-acidify the oceans; and direct air collection with scrubbing equipment are all examples of alternatives of energy sources and cleaning the atmosphere. People must address challenges created by renewable energy’s intermittency, seasonal changes in supply, and high storage costs, because even the most advanced solar panels now convert only about a fourth of the sun’s energy.

New global corporate laws should be agreed upon that require global disclosure their carbon footprints, use impact-weighted accounting to show the full environmental implications of their operational processes, and break with business as usual by publishing transition plans to a zero net carbon economy. There is need to champion the cause of carbon taxes by agreeing to remove fossil fuel subsidies and adopting President Biden’s idea for border changing that tax carbon-intensive imports and exports for the first time (Gates, 2021). A significant boost to environment solutions like afforestation and better land use, which the World Resources Institute is now championing is necessary. As a result, the projected $100 billion green climate fund, which was planned decade ago to gather and administer funds for responding to climate change in developing countries, could finally become a reality.

One of the grounds why implementing climate change action is so difficult to sell is that it is a massive project that will necessitate innovation to develop the technologies required to achieve net zero emissions. Rich countries may be hesitant to invest the vast sums of money required before the globe sees any returns, but Gates sees this as an economic opportunity (Gates, 2021). In the future decades, the countries that establish strong zero-carbon enterprises and sectors will drive the global economy. Whoever develops significant energy breakthroughs and demonstrates that they can perform on a global scale while remaining affordable will find a large number of eager clients in emerging economies.

The author has successfully presented a solid argument and achieved the purpose of this writing this book. The goal of the author was to illustrate how the world can clean the air and eliminate climate change. This objective has been achieved by the choice subtitles of the book and structure. Gates begins by capturing the attention of his readers by presenting the current statistics of greenhouse gases emission and the severity of this problem (Gates, 2021). This foundation emphasizes on the needs for drastic transformation. He the goes ahead to illustrate how various sources of energy are contributing to the problem of climate change. While doing so, Gates does not ignore the fact that people need fuel and energy to sustain life.

Thus, Gates presents his solutions of cleaning the atmosphere and avoiding further pollution are practical. This is one of the strengths of the book. Before publishing his work, Gates conducted research and used the findings to frame potential solutions to the problem. Although he calls upon more research and development, some of the remedies are already implementing in certain nations (Gates, 2021). For example, wind, solar and nuclear energy are currently sources of energy in various regions of the world. While these solutions are mostly on small scale production, their establishment is a positive action toward the right direction.

On the other hand, the book’s weakness is lack of peer review. It is mostly founded on one person’s perspective on the issue of climate change disaster. Although the author has use facts to support his arguments, a review from other experts in the field would have increased impartiality and addressed any form of bias. Nevertheless, the book is insightful and it has attempted to educate people on one of the leading global problems.

Overall, the book is calling upon all people to pay attention to climate change disaster and become a part of the solution. According to Gates, to realize zero in greenhouse gases emissions, every individual must contribute. For example, the government need to formulate policies that support clean energy and compel people to preserve the environment. Similarly, entities and corporations should invest in clean energy since they have significant contribution to environmental pollution. Lastly, more research is necessary to discover more knowledge as well as realizing progress or challenges in this endeavor.


Gates, B. (2021). How to avoid a climate disaster: The solution we have and the breakthroughs we need. New York: Diversified Publishing.


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