A must-read book on climate change

06 December 2022
How to avoid a climate disaster by Bill Gates is an incredibly clear and understandable book about climate change and how to deal with it. I believe that everyone should read it, regardless of age, occupation, or technical background.
Gates writes like he's speaking at TedTalks, very clearly, in simple terms, with apt metaphors, and with a level of detail that allows you to get to the heart of the matter without getting bogged down in an avalanche of numbers and complex logic.

Prior to reading this book, I had a rather misunderstood view of the state and problems of renewable energy, the role of concrete and steel production, the growing demand for land for human needs, and the role of government in solving climate problems. And now I have a very clear idea of what the problem is, why we need to solve it now, and what is the plan for how to do it.

A few important takeaways from this books to me personally:

We emit 52 billion tons of greenhouse gases that cause climate change and lead us to a climate catastrophe. We need to get to zero tons.
Renewable energy sources (wind, sun, water) alone will not lead us to this, but they are part of the solution, and we need to deploy them faster and smarter.
Nuclear power has great potential despite the concerns of many people, as it's relatively cheap, reliable, doesn't require a lot of space, and can be deployed anywhere. We need to double down on it.
The production of cement, steel, plastic and other goods in itself causes greenhouse gas emissions, and this must also be combated.
The production of CHEAP green energy is the main factor that can bring us closer to zero because it will reduce emissions caused by burning fossil fuels for energy production, and also allow us to electrify manufacturing, transport, and other sectors that are currently responsible for heavy emissions.
It's impossible to get to zero without governments' active support – the introduction of the necessary policies and support for innovation. Businesses and governments must work together.
We, as citizens and consumers, have the real power (depending on the level of democracy in the country, of course) to influence politicians and the economy by consciously voting and choosing green products and technologies.
Most importantly, unlike many resources that simply panic and draw apocalyptic pictures of the near future, Bill Gates' book "How to Avoid a Climate Disaster" gives hope, and not just hope, but a well-developed plan to get to zero. It's hard as hell, no doubt, but it's doable. And we, humanity, have proven our ability to do great things if we want to.
Mr. Gates also mentioned a few other fantastic books on the subject that help get the whole picture across:
  • Factfulness by Hans Rosling – I also read it and it changed my understanding of human progress for the better and provided a framework for how to think clearly about the world.

Happy reading!

Image credit - vogue.fr
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Olga Shavrina
Product manager. Human being