Bill Gates held an AMA on Reddit to speak about climate change and those COVID conspiracy theories
Ever wondered what Bill Gates prefers on his burgers? If he could still write the code that made him a billionaire?
Or what he thinks about being targeted by weird COVID-19 conspiracy theories?
Wonder no more.
Mr Gates held his ninth Reddit AMA — Ask Me Anything, for the uninitiated — and covered a whole lot of “meaty” ground, as the Microsoft co-founder put it himself.
Here’s the best of what he had to say.
Gates is super into synthetic meat right now
While his focus is on fighting climate change (he’s just published a book about it), Mr Gates spoke a lot about how important synthetic meat is key to solving the challenge in the years ahead.
Asked what “niche technology do you believe could play a significant role in the future in the battle against climate change?” Mr Gates said: “We need a lot of technologies — synthetic meat, energy storage, new ways of making building materials… We want to be open to ideas that seem wild.”
He also listed eating synthetic meat as one of the things he is personally doing to reduce his carbon footprint, and said he encouraged burger outlets to offer synthetic beef as a choice.
“On the personal front, I am doing a lot more. I am driving electric cars. I have solar panels at my house. I eat synthetic meat (some of the time!). I buy green aviation fuel. I pay for direct air capture by Climeworks. I help finance electric heat pumps in low-cost housing to replace natural gas,” he said.
As for the non-billionaires among us, Gates had this advice:
“Your political voice is the most important thing. Getting educated and convincing people of all political parties to care will make a huge difference,” he said.
“Then you can consume less and when you do consume, buy green products like electric cars or synthetic meat.”
He thinks the recent COVID vaccine conspiracy theories are ‘pretty crazy’
Mr Gates was asked what he thought about conspiracy theories involving him, COVID-19 vaccines and 5G.
“I am innocent!” he said.
“The whole thing about 5G and microchips is pretty crazy. Why would I want to do that? I do believe in vaccines which have performed miracles.”
Mr Gates elaborated in another post.
“Vaccines are important and it is too bad they are so controversial,” he said.
Asked about misinformation and fake news, Mr Gates said it was a “huge issue”.
“Some false information is more interesting than the truth so digital channels seem to magnify echo chambers with bad facts. I haven’t seen as much creativity on how we solve this as we need,” he said.
He’s hopeful when it comes to climate change
And he’s looking to younger generations. If things go right, he said there’s a “75 per cent” chance for the world to reach net-zero emissions by 2060.
“It really depends on whether the younger generation worldwide adopts this as a moral cause they force us to pay attention to. If they do then I would say 75 per cent chance of success. If there isn’t that push then the investments may not get made. Innovation is hard to schedule but with lots of inventors some will succeed.”
Asked why he was hopeful, Mr Gates said:
It wasn’t all optimism from Mr Gates, though. He was blunt when asked what the best-case scenario was if the world does nothing about climate change.
“It gets worse over time and natural ecosystems go away. The migration away from the unlivable areas around the equator will be massive. We won’t be able to support a large population if it gets a lot warmer.”