At the Wall Street Journal ECO:nomics conference on March 21st-23rd, 2012 in Santa Barbara, Bill Gates emphasised the need to reduce carbon emissions as much as possible and announced a goal of reaching global carbon neutrality within 75 years. To accomplish this daunting task, Gates will be devoting more time and resources to clean energy development. He noted that ‘five miracles’ are needed: advancements in carbon capture, advancements in nuclear, solar, and wind energy, and advancements in biofuels. “For society’s sake we need to fund energy research much more aggressively,” he said. “We also need a carbon tax. We need policy that drives innovation and conservation.”
Gates views ‘fourth generation nuclear’ as a promising area for advancement in electricity generation. Fourth generation nuclear plants utilize depleted uranium making it a more efficient and safer alternative to current nuclear production. Gates has invested in TerraPower, a leader in fourth generation nuclear technology.
Gates noted that reforming energy technology is very challenging and takes time. “People underestimate how hard energy innovation is,” he remarked. “The IT revolution was easy in comparison. The pace of IT innovation was extremely fast. It’s a different thing to generate paradigm shifts in energy.”
To watch the interview, click here.