Bill Gates says the US should tackle climate change with the “same sense of urgency” as the coronavirus pandemic — arguing that failing to do so will inflict long-lasting “pain.”
“If you want to understand the kind of damage that climate change will inflict, look at COVID-19 and spread the pain out over a much longer period of time,” the Microsoft co-founder wrote Tuesday in a blog post.
“The loss of life and economic misery caused by this pandemic are on par with what will happen regularly if we do not eliminate the world’s carbon emissions.”
The billionaire estimated that climate change could be as deadly as the pandemic by 2060 — only to increase casualties fivefold by 2100.
“Within the next 40 years, increases in global temperatures are projected to raise global mortality rates by the same amount—14 deaths per 100,000,” he wrote.
“By the end of the century, if emissions growth stays high, climate change could be responsible for 73 extra deaths per 100,000 people.”
Gates said his point is not simply that climate change could have disastrous consequences, but that “if we learn the lessons of COVID-19, we can approach climate change more informed about the consequences of inaction.”
“Start now. Unlike the novel coronavirus, for which I think we’ll have a vaccine next year, there is no two-year fix for climate change,” he wrote. “It will take decades to develop and deploy all the clean-energy inventions we need.”