|Genre:||Non-fiction / Science|
Climate change, it’s a “hot” topic that has us all talking, especially the past few decades, or so. My girlfriend Bren has always been busy with this subject and together we’ve been actively changing our lifestyle by banning plastics in our life where possible and adopting a zero waste lifestyle. When I heard that Bill Gates had written a book about climate change I knew I wanted to read it. I never associated him with the subject, which made me all the more interested in reading this book.
How to Avoid a Climate Disaster tries to give us an overview of our CO² emissions and is mostly about how we can get to 0 emissions in the fastest way possible. Our love for fossil fuels is ruining our planet and if we were to continue living as we do, our planet will be largely uninhabitable by the end of the century. In other words, there’s a lot at stake here!
In the first chapters of the book Bill Gates tells us how our emissions are divided into five categories. Our annual emissions are now 51 billion tons of CO² (or simplified in the book as “carbon”). The five categories are:
- How we make things (cement, steel and plastics), 31%
- Plugging in (electricity, 27%
- Growing things (planten en dieren), 19%
- Getting around (from trucks to airplanes), 16%
- Regulating heat (airconditioning and heating), 7%
What follows is how we can change our emissions for each of these topics. The bottom line of each of these is the same, however; there’s a ton of work to be done to change the way we do things now and we will require new inventions an innovation in order to overcome the hurdles in each of these fields.
What this book does really well is give us an overview of the problems and how we should go about solving them. However, it falls a bit short on how we can help as an individual. This book seems to address governments a lot more than the individual consumer. One way of helping, Bill Gates believes, is by becoming politically active ourselves. I think this is a bit of short sighted viewpoint, because there really is a lot we can do as individuals to help. And if everyone were to change their lifestyle by consuming less and reducing consumption of meat and diary, we would do the world as a whole a big favour.
Climate change is a hard subject, that much is clear after reading this book. Bill Gates has made a good attempt to give us an overview of our problems and how our carbon emissions are divided among several different fields. He has also given us plenty of options about what we can do to tackle these problems. One thing is very clear; global warming needs to be a priority for each country’s political agenda. We are all responsible for climate change, whether we like it or not, but we can also be a part of the solution! It’s very important that we make some big breakthroughs to tackle these problems in the same fashion as we tackled COVID-19 in such a short time. If the pandemic has proven one thing it’s that we’re a resilient people and that we can address our problems in a short time, by uniting and working together.
I’m convinced that we have to solve our problems and that we can do something about this as an individual. Something that wasn’t really part of this book. I have been watching and reading a lot about our planet lately and because Bren wanted to change her lifestyle, I automatically joined her, because I now understand how dire the situation really is. We can either ignore these problems and continue life as we are living it now, or we can actively try to do something about it. And you don’t need to be political to do something. Every little change we make for the better will ultimately help towards a better, brighter future for our planet and Humankind. Time is ticking, what will you do?
Jeffrey, Actually in the USA media, Bill Gates has been a voice combating Climate Change for quite a while now before & after his book, “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster.” I was very interested in Bill Gates’ five categories of annual CO² emissions of 51 tons worth !!! And while you said Bill Gates gives us a good overview of the problem & how to solve it, he does not tell us what we can do ourselves beyond “not buying certain products and others.” Your efforts with Bren in your household to reduce CO² emissions are good examples! And so Gates concludes, “… we are all responsible for this problem and the solution.” I like your comment that as with COVID-19 we must unite together to tackle the problem of Climate Change. –Good review, Jeffrey! Phil
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