Bill Gates’ book “How we prevent the climate catastrophe”

FOssile fuels are like water. That’s how Bill Gates sees it. He illustrates this thesis with a story told by David Foster Wallace in his famous 2005 speech at Kenyon College in Ohio. It goes like this: Two young fish meet an older fish who asks them: “Moin, boys, how is the water?” The two young fish swim on, then one looks at the other and says: “What the hell is because water? “

Kai Spanke

The most obvious aspects of our reality, so Wallace’s point, are often those that are most likely to be overlooked. That’s what Gates is all about. Fossil fuels are “so ubiquitous that it can be difficult to identify the multiple ways in which they – and other sources of greenhouse gases – affect our lives.” Toothbrushes are made of plastic, the grain for the muesli is harvested by combine harvesters that run on diesel, and many items of clothing are made of the plastic polyester.

A gigantic project

Gates, who likes to read and recently raved about Barack Obama’s book “A Promised Land” in the “New York Times”, has now published a book with which he has just swept his former president off the top of the “Spiegel” bestseller list. It is called “How to Prevent Climate Disaster”, revolves around human activities that generate CO2, and discusses ways to reduce the 51 billion tons of greenhouse gases released annually to zero by 2050.

Bill Gates:


Bill Gates: “How we can prevent the climate catastrophe”. What solutions are there and what progress is needed. Piper Verlag, Munich 2021. Translated from the English by Karsten Petersen and Hans-Peter Remmler. 320 pp., Ill., Hardcover, 22, – €.
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Image: Piper Verlag

Zero doesn’t literally mean zero, but almost net zero. The aim is to produce as little carbon as possible and to remove the CO2 emitted from the atmosphere using processes that are not yet available. Not a small project. But the book appears at the right time, because Gates has never polarized as strongly as since the beginning of the corona pandemic. Google has determined that interest in his person in April 2020 was more than twice as high as at the previous peak in June 2006.

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