Bill Gates predicts ‘energy miracle’ within 15 years

American business magnate and co-founder of Microsoft Bill Gates has called on the world to mobilise efforts to create an 'energy miracle' breakthrough that would revolutionise how we tackle climate change.

In his annual letter, released today (24 February), Gates states that the world needed to increase its efforts in researching new ideas that would create a zero-emissions landscape by the end of the century – but he believes a breakthrough is on the horizon.

“When I say ‘miracle’, I don’t mean something that’s impossible,” Gates wrote. “I’ve seen miracles happen before; the personal computer, the Internet, the polio vaccine. None of them happened by chance. They are the result of research and development and the human capacity to innovate.

“I’m so optimistic about the world’s ability to make a miracle happen that I’m willing to make a prediction. Within the next 15 years—and especially if young people get involved—I expect the world will discover a clean energy breakthrough that will save our planet and power our world.”

In the letter, Gates calls on governments to play their role in sparking new advances into clean energy by funding more research. He notes that millennials hold the key in spreading awareness of the issue but that, ultimately, more money will be needed to incite global change.

He cited analysis from scientists which suggests that the world will have to lower emissions by 80% by 2050 – before eliminating them entirely by the end of the century.

Despite the rampant need to scale down emissions, 2015 saw the world emit 36 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in order to produce energy.

Gates used an equation to explain how clean energy now holds the key in reducing emissions and hitting the 80% target. The equatuion explains that, as populations and amenities grow – and emissions rise as a by-product – carbon emissions from energy needs to be eradicated in order to have any chance of meeting these goals.

Gateway to the future

Last year, Gates teamed up with Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Branson as part of a new collaboration aimed at creating affordable and reliable clean energy for the entire planet. Gates is committing $1bn of his own money over five years to invest in clean-energy technology, and has been pushing governments to increase their funding.

Gates also used his letter to implore developed countries – which are largely responsible for the majority of the emissions – to help developing countries in Africa and Asia invest in basic electrical appliances and grids – something that a lot of people are without due to the refugee crisis.

 “If the world can put more [energy] into the hands of the poorest, we believe it will allow millions of dreams to take flight,” he said.

Matt Mace

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