Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates just announced he will be leaving his post to focus on his philanthropic priorities, including climate change. Though he will continue to serve as a technical advisor to current Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, his focus will now be on tackling some of humanity’s largest problems.
On Friday, Gates noted in a LinkedIn post that Microsoft would “always be an important part of my life’s work.”
“I feel more optimistic than ever about the progress the company is making and how it can continue to benefit the world,” Gates wrote.
Earlier in 2018, Forbes named Bill and Melinda Gates as the second most generous givers in America. So, what have the Gates been focusing on and how are they planning on tackling climate change going forward?
What the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Has Achieved so Far
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest private philanthropic foundation in the world, with almost $47 billion in assets as of 2018. Since its launch in 2000, the couple has given over $36 billion to charity. Education, global health, and poverty act at the forefront of their nonprofit organization. Now, the couple is doubling down on climate change as a pressing priority.
Some of the Gates’s most notable projects deal with eradicating diseases on a global scale. Specifically, the Gates Foundation has poured billions of dollars into disease prevention, immunization, and vaccination for ailments like malaria and polio.
In 2014, India announced it was polio-free after a partnership between the Indian government, the Gates Foundation, and Rotary International. The Guardian reported that India had been home to more than 50% of the world’s polio cases only 5 years before. Then, last month, the Gates Foundation also committed $100 million for coronavirus relief.
Now, Gates plans to tackle climate change. Earlier this year, the nonprofit added climate change to its top priorities. Why? Well, Gates says it’s due to its impact on global health.
How does Bill Gates Plan to Combat Climate Change?
On Twitter, Gates called climate change “one of the toughest challenges the world has ever taken on.”
In a letter on his blog, Gates Notes, Gates wrote, “Global health will always be a core focus of our foundation. This work will only become more important in the future, as climate change makes more people susceptible to disease.”
Disproportionately affected by climate change is the world’s poorest, especially subsistence farmers. Gates called this a “cruel irony,” given they contribute the least to the crisis.
To tackle climate change, the foundation has plans to work on technologies aimed at finding zero-carbon alternatives. Gates also wants to explore ways to end “energy poverty” without contributing to climate change.
Bill Gates Says Solving Climate Change Will Need Adaptation
However, Gates says solving climate change will not just demand mitigation, but adaptation too.
“Tackling climate change is going to demand historical cooperation, unprecedented amounts of innovation in nearly every sector of the economy, widespread deployment of today’s clean-energy solutions like solar and wind, and a concerted effort to work with the people who are most vulnerable to a warmer world,” the billionaire remarked.
So, Gates added, the “best thing” to do is help out people in poor countries by ensuring that they’re healthy. In order to adapt to climate change, he says, they’ll need to be “healthy enough to solve it.” Given this statement, Gates wrote his plan to tackle climate change will include interventions like “vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics” to those most vulnerable to rising temperatures.
Increasingly Common Trend for Billionaires to Tackle Climate Change
Gates’s resignation marks 44 years since he first started Microsoft. While this certainly marks the end of an era, it also will hopefully jump-start more action towards climate change.
As the threat of climate change grows stronger, the call for the world’s ultrarich to take action grows with it. With Bezos’s $10 billion initiative and Gates’s recent commitment, there’s hope that all this green will equate to a much greener world.