DUBAI: An effective transition to net zero requires an interdisciplinary approach that addresses manufacturing, agriculture, electricity and transport, according to tech and philanthropy giant Bill Gates.
In his address at the Business Philanthropy Climate Forum, held alongside the UN Climate Change Conference, COP28, in Dubai, Gates reiterated that while the primary focus in climate discussions tends to highlight electricity and transport solely, climate goals will not be met without a holistic approach.
The priority in the shift must also take into account the most vulnerable members of the global population, who are especially susceptible to the effects of climate change, he explained.
Gates drew examples from farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, urging attendees to take their suffering into account, while calling on support for higher productivity and more resilience in livestock.
Gates said: “We need, for the sake of justice, to help people adjust to the planet that is already warmer ... Our priority in this adaptation work should be those who are most affected. And the majority of those people are farmers in both sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia and we can already see the crop loss that they’re suffering and what that means to them. So they need support to have higher productivity.”
In order for this to become possible, Gates extended his call for a holistic approach involving all sectors of philanthropy, government, and businesses to bridge the apparent gaps in financing.
Governmental transfers, or development assistance transfers, amount to about $140 billion a year, whereas philanthropy from rich countries to aid developing nations is only around $40 billion a year. According to Gates, this is “so incredibly modest.”
Speaking on a panel during the BPCF, the businessman noted that he spends about “$500 million a year” on climate-related philanthropy. This includes focusing on things like open-source bridge models, funding the implementation of climate activities, and supporting policy groups in different parts of the world.
For the surge in financing needed to become possible, Gates highlighted that philanthropic capital is often the “best way.”
“We have 90 of what we call breakthrough energy fellows, whose ideas were so early that they needed close to a million dollars to prove things out. If it succeeded, then the high-risk venture capital would come in and fund those companies,” he said.
Since the initiation of the Paris Agreement, the philanthropist outlined that he has “put over $2 billion into clean energy,” a number that he expects will double in the coming years.