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Bill Gates

Microsoft’s Bill Gates: Fossil Fuel Divestment a ‘False Solution’

Bill GatesMicrosoft founder Bill Gates has called for a “substantial carbon tax,” and labeled fossil fuel divestment “a false solution,” in an interview with the Atlantic magazine.

In the interview he says governments could combat climate change by increasing spending on research and development, and adds private investors should also spend money developing new technology that will help shrink the global carbon footprint.

He also criticized the move to divest from coal and other high-emitting companies.

“If you think divestment alone is a solution, I worry you’re taking whatever desire people have to solve this problem and kind of using up their idealism and energy on something that won’t emit less carbon — because only a few people in society are the owners of the equity of coal or oil companies,” he said. “As long as there’s no carbon tax and that stuff is legal, everybody should be able to drive around.”

Microsoft’s internal carbon fee has reduced the company’s emissions by 7.5 million metric tons of CO2e, since it was established three years ago, and saved more than $10 million per year.

In late 2013, the company published a carbon fee playbook, an overview on how Microsoft implemented its internal carbon price and fee that includes a five-step process to guide other companies on how to put it into action at their own businesses.

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5 thoughts on “Microsoft’s Bill Gates: Fossil Fuel Divestment a ‘False Solution’

  1. Divestment was never viewed as a “solution.” It was a strategy to move the principals in the direction of a carbon tax.

  2. Bill Gates is right. Disinvestment is nothing but a way for people with very little power making themselves feel better by thinking that doing something worthwhile about climate change. What is needed is both private and public investment in renewable energy and possibly carbon sequestration technologies.

  3. We support a carbon tax. But it does not solve the municipality and waste hauler collaboration that make it extremely difficult to free up feedstock and divert it from landfill and methane leaking composting site to instead leverage efficient anaerobic digestion. Owning one of 8,000 biogas plants in Germany gave me the hope to make a difference in the US and foremost in California. Unfortunately, for the past three years we have tried to make headway with large waste haulers to be blocked by their contracts with municipalities that do not allow diversion from dictated waste destinations. At the municipality level, bureaucrats are unwilling to make progressive decisions.
    Dairy farmers in California with 1.8 million milking cows need subsidies to switch to scraped or vacuumed manure from flushing manure into lagoons. It would conserve water and stop depleting the sinking water table. Those that are more progressive and independent dislike any government intervention and still cannot be sold on the AD benefits.
    On both fronts, much more aggressive actions and pressure from State Capitals are needed to make headway. Visionaries like Bill Gates are sought after to provide direction besides a carbon tax on polluters.

  4. Mike Muller is so right on all fronts. The media as well as elected officials and public employees at the municipal level are educated and influenced only by the waste management contractors with their failing so-called ‘recycling centers’. No one else has the cash flow or the vested interest. Three cheers for Bill Gates for speaking out. Maybe we could convince him to take a controlling position in waste management companies!

  5. Cleaner low-carbon energy for the masses along with carbon sequestration is doable and affordable using technology from Advanced Alternative Energy Corp. and company founder Les Blevins hopes Microsoft’s founder will contact him soon to discuss collaboration.

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