Microsoft founder and one of the world’s richest men, Bill Gates, says that the European energy crisis will be “good” for the planet “in the long run.” In his newsletter, Gates also said that it is necessary to “speed the process up” for the reset of the economy.
As Europeans scramble to gather up what fuel sources they can ahead of winter, as natural gas supplies dwindle amid the European Union’s continued sanctions on Russian energy, Gates, a philanthropist and climate change activist, sees a silver lining in the suffering of average Europeans.
Speaking to CNBC, where he touted Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a carbon tax investment company, Gates expressed his observations about the flawed optimism in the state of the so-called green energy transition, which numerous Western economies jumped onto by dismantling their nuclear power plants and increased their investment in renewables.
“People did get a little optimistic about how quickly the transition could be done,” said Gates. “Without the Russian natural gas being available in Europe… it’s a setback.”
“We need to find non-Russian hydrocarbon sources to substitute for those so there’s coal plants running and a variety of things, because, you know, keeping, you know, people warm, keeping those economies in decent shape is a priority,” Gates continued.
Despite his apparent concerns for the wellbeing of average Europeans, Gates expressed his optimism that the short-term suffering – which of course includes rolling blackouts and possibly freezing to death – would be worth it in the long run.
“Now, on the other hand, it’s good for the long run, because people won’t want to be dependent on Russian natural gas so they’ll move to these new approaches more rapidly,” he said.
On Tuesday, Gates published a State of the Energy Transition newsletter, in which he stated that it is the responsibility of developed nations like the United States, which have benefited greatly from burning fossil fuels, to completely decarbonize all sectors of the economy.
“Many countries in Europe and North America filled the atmosphere with carbon to achieve prosperity, and it is both unrealistic and unfair to expect everyone else to forgo a more comfortable life because that carbon turned out to change the climate,” wrote Gates in the newsletter.
“I don’t think the market by itself can press reset on an entire economy in just a few decades,” wrote Gates. “We need a plan to speed the process up.”