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Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019

‘Didn’t expect to hear it in Patna’: Bill Gates talks climate change with Nitish Kumar

Gates was in conversation with Rishad Premji, chairman, Wipro Ltd., on a topic close to his heart: Technology for Social Inclusion as part of Mint Visionaries. Mint selected this theme since it resonates with the idea of new India.

india Updated: Nov 18, 2019 17:13 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Bill Gates, who co-chairs the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, at Mint Visionaries in New Delhi on Sunday.
Bill Gates, who co-chairs the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, at Mint Visionaries in New Delhi on Sunday.(HT PHOTO.)
         

Philanthropist billionaire Bill Gates, who co-chairs the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, on Sunday, said that global economies needed to change to get carbon emissions down to zero to rein in the challenges posed by climate change.

Gates was in conversation with Rishad Premji, chairman, Wipro Ltd., on a topic close to his heart: Technology for Social Inclusion as part of Mint Visionaries. Mint selected this theme since it resonates with the idea of new India.

Talking about his book on climate change which will be released next June, Gates said the idea that someday the rate of emissions will drop to zero is a very challenging one. “Most of the energy that we use comes from coal or natural gas or gasoline. By the time you get to zero, you will need to get rid of these sources of energy and move over to nuclear, renewable or hydro energy. The work on mitigation requires immense innovation. We have a lot of inventions that need to be made. We have to accelerate innovation to mitigate the risk of climate change, which won’t come if we don’t step in,” Gates said.

Referring to his interaction with Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar earlier on Sunday Gates said, “I met the chief minister of Bihar, earlier in the day and he was talking about ways to reduce climate change. When I am in Seattle, in Washington DC or in Paris, climate change is the big topic but I did not expect to hear about it in Patna. Young people are waking up to climate change but unfortunately the people who will suffer the most due to the impact of climate change in growing economies will be the poorest---the farmers and the people in the lower end of the pyramid.”

“This is the first meeting I had with Nitish Kumar and I was impressed that he was saying that they had a problem with climate change. He was trying to get our advice and help on seeds and water supply and how to deal with climate change,” Gates said.

 WATCH | Full Video: Bill Gates and Rishad Premji in conversation I Mint Visionaries

“We have a lot of inventions which need to be made for example the way we make cement and steel are extremely heavy emission activities and yet the world will build more buildings by around 2060 than exist today as the world urbanizes. We are going to use a lot of cement and steel so accelerating innovation is a must, “he emphasized.

Gates spoke of including every country in the need to reduce climate change. “Every country in the world has to participate in tackling climate change; even if you leave out low-income countries you have to include middle income countries since 60% of humanity lives there and a lot of the emissions are going to come from there not just the rich countries. Some people think it can be dealt with in 10 or 20 years. I wish that was true. We need to engage in a plan to sort out climate change.”

Asked about his wish for India, the billionaire said the country should look into malnutrition and get rid of it because it reduces the potential of children.