FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bill Gates Calls for Multiple Breakthroughs and Political Leadership to Address Climate Change
Climate Solutions Annual Event Sells Out and Breaks Goals.
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Bill Gates, Microsoft Chairman and Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, spoke about addressing climate change and significantly increasing clean energy innovations to a crowd of 1200+ at the Climate Solutions annual breakfast in Seattle on Tuesday, May 10th.
“We need a breakthrough, we need multiple breakthroughs,” Gates stated at the start of the conversation with Climate Solutions Board Co-chair Jabe Blumenthal.
In his comments, Gates touched on the need to invest in multiple paths for innovation, the dire need for increased U.S. government investment in research and development, and the fact that the U.S. still has a huge share of the world’s innovation potential, given the market for high-risk start-ups and concentration of talent in top research universities.
“When you care about the future, many issues come together,” he added. “My key interest is that we get cheap energy that emits no carbon -- any one of those paths is not easy.”
Dean Allen, CEO of clean economy innovator McKinstry spoke during the program focusing on the significant impact that the built environment has on the natural environment and how addressing energy efficiency can deliver cost-effective environmental solutions.
“While working towards technological energy breakthroughs is important, we cannot afford to rely on them as silver bullets,” said Allen. “As we’ve learned with education reform, it’s not in our best interest to wait for Superman. Instead, we need to seek out and implement practical and profitable solutions today. Around McKinstry, we call these pathways toward the runway of a clean energy economy.”
Later the same day, Climate Solutions’ Policy Director KC Golden joined Grist.org’s David Roberts in a conversation about Bill Gates’ remarks and how to bring about change at the local and national levels. Climate Solutions partnered with Grist.org to livecast the event and for the livechat.
“We need innovation, and Gates has a great platform to make that point,” wrote Golden in response to a question regarding innovation. “But I don't necessarily think he's saying it's ‘the’ top priority. It's a big missing piece, and not surprisingly one that he focuses on. It's late enough in the climate game that we clearly also need rapid, widespread deployment of currently available technology, and public policy to drive that deployment.”
Many of the region’s top policy makers, clean energy leaders and funders attended the event, including former EPA Administrator Bill Ruckelshaus, Bullitt Foundation President Denis Hayes, Paul and Debbi Brainerd of the Brainerd Foundation, Director of WA Dept. of Commerce Rogers Weed, Bill Gates Sr., and Seattle Chamber of Commerce Chair Maud Daudon. Several CEOs of national environmental groups also attended including League of Conservation Voters’ Gene Karpinski, Alliance for Climate Protection’s Maggie Fox, National Wildlife Federation’s Larry Schweiger and Hal Harvey of the global foundation ClimateWorks.
This is the third year of Climate Solutions’ annual signature event, and the sold-out breakfast helped the organization surpass their fundraising goal for the event, raising close to $500,000.
Started in 1998, Climate Solutions works on practical and profitable solutions to global warming. Several climate leaders participated in a video shown at the breakfast emphasizing the need for solutions, including King County Executive Dow Constantine, actor Peter Horton, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, author L. Hunter Lovins, Denis Hayes, and U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee. The organization also showcased two videos of solutions stories in the Northwest with Green Canopy Homes and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA).
Gates referenced the room in his closing remarks when talking about the need for political leadership and that happening “only because the people like the people here are keeping that message in front of the politicians.”
Golden also echoed Gates’ thoughts later that day on Grist.org. “So, here's the great conundrum of climate, right? No single action that any of us can take is remotely close to ‘enough.’ So we have do what we can do, but also continue to demand real accountability from our elected leaders for large-scale solutions,” he concluded.
About Climate Solutions: Climate Solutions is a Northwest clean-energy economy nonprofit whose mission is to accelerate practical and profitable solutions to global warming by galvanizing leadership, growing investment and bridging divides. www.climatesolutions.org