Bill Gates says he is going to double his personal investment in innovative energy technologies to $2 billion over the next five years in an attempt to “bend the curve” in combating carbon emissions. He has already put a billion dollars into battery storage, next-generation nuclear and free air carbon capture — hoping they will lead to “breakthrough” technologies. He warns that the anti-capitalist demands of green fundamentalists could only be achieved at “beyond astronomical” socio-economic cost. Despite the Guardian targeting the Gates Foundation directly to disinvest from energy companies as part of their ill-conceived “keep it the ground” campaign he has rejected that as “high risk”.
Gates is dismissive of solar energy because battery technology is currently inadequate; “Power is about reliability. We need to get something that works reliably.” He has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in TerraPower, who build reactors powered by depleted uranium, the waste from today’s nuclear plants. Most environmentalists are pessimistic and doom laden, Gaia suspects primarily because they are ill-disposed to capitalism in the first place, so they advocate not only an end to technological and economic progress to “save the planet”. Gates is optimistic that carbon emissions can be reduced and even reversed, that solutions to energy problems will be invented: “The only way you can get to the very positive scenario is by great innovation, … Innovation really does bend the curve.”