At this year’s TechCrunch Sessions: Climate 2022, Bill Gates joined me onstage for a wide-ranging conversation that included an updated assessment of our progress in mitigating climate change since the publication of his 2021 book “How to avoid a climate disaster. I drew an analogy between our global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the threat of climate change, but Gates pointed out that, in fact, the changes needed to avert a climate disaster are much larger in scale and scope than the steps needed to address a problem. Imminent pandemic urgently.
In terms of why he remains optimistic about the ability of global social action to address climate problems, he pointed to countries outside the US that stand out as examples of minimizing the health impacts of COVID, despite that in all cases they have fewer resources to do so. . He also cited the vast progress we’ve made since 2015, the tail end of the last green tech boom, particularly in terms of an “IQ shift” that has seen talent and skill move toward developing real solutions in the laboratory, instead of going into things like maximizing returns in the banking sector, for example.
Gates also said that economic conditions today are “changing probably faster than ever in my lifetime,” and that creates a lot of uncertainty about how and where capital can be deployed to make the kind of drastic and unprecedented changes needed in key industries, including manufacturing, which need not only early investment, but also fuel for rapid scale.
We also managed to touch on Gates’ views on the value of cryptocurrencies (or lack thereof?), and he weighed in on Bored Apes and all they’ve contributed to the world. Spoiler alert: he is neither a crypto maximalist nor a minimalist.
I also asked Gates where he thinks the biggest innovations still need to be made in terms of progress to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. His response included a specific focus on affordable mitigation, at scale, where it will have the greatest impact, including regions like Africa.
These are just a few highlights, and our entire conversation even touched on Elon Musk’s recent low shots at him on Twitter. You can watch the entire 30-minute chat by getting a virtual ticket to TC Sessions: Climate, which will give you access to the entire event schedule on demand, as well as our online-only day on Thursday. .