Bill Gates tells COP28: World likely to overshoot critical warming threshold

Billionaire philanthropist and former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates said Friday the world is likely to overshoot a critical warming threshold for climate change.

“Fortunately, we’ve made enough progress [that] we’re not going to have the extreme cases like a 4 degrees [Celsius] warming, but we’ll sadly probably even miss the 2-degree goal. So, we’ll have adaptation as a priority,” Gates said Friday to CNBC at the 28th United Nations climate change conference (COP28) in Dubai.

About a week ago, the U.N. issued a report that said the world would reach around 3 degrees Celsius of warming this century. This would be double the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold of warming that scientists have said should be avoided to evade some serious climate change effects.

“Present trends are racing our planet down a dead-end 3-degree temperature rise. In short, the report shows that the emissions gap is more like an emissions canyon. A canyon littered with broken promises, broken lives, and broken records,” U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said in a press conference at the time.

”All of this is a failure of leadership, a betrayal of the vulnerable, and a massive missed opportunity. Renewables have never been cheaper or more accessible,” Guterres continued.

Gates also said Friday that there’s “not some binary cut-off, where at a certain temperature everything’s horrible.”

“We are going to have warming, likely above our goals, and that’s where adaptation comes in to say, ‘OK, because of this warming, what can you do that’s very inexpensive, like better warning systems for bad weather events, or better weather data to help farmers know when to plant,'” the billionaire continued.

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