World counting on India to play central role in tackling climate crisis, says Bill Gates
Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates called on India to play a central role in the fight against climate change and commended the South Asian nation’s leadership in renewable energy.
Speaking at the fifth Ramnath Goenka lecture organised by The Indian Express newspaper, Mr Gates expressed his concern over the climate crisis and called for scientific innovations to address the problem.
The billionaire, who has invested more than $2bn toward climate technologies, said that finding solutions that are both cheap and reliable to address the climate crisis is a major challenge.
“The challenge is pretty incredible when it comes to creating solutions that are not just cheap but also reliable,” Mr Gates said.
“I find these challenges exciting and I always see a chance for innovation if we can get young people and explain that challenge to them and get capital to them. Then I think innovation can help continue with the human progress,” he said.
Mr Gates said India, where half of the population is below the age of 25, can play a key role in fighting the climate crisis, calling for young people to be involved in finding solutions.
“We need innovation from the whole world, but a lot specifically from India,” he said.
“You have got 700 million young people, you have educational institutions, it just gets stronger. So we need innovation from the whole world, but a lot specifically from India.
“We are looking to India for a significant part of that so that we can overcome the world’s great challenges.
“India is leading the way in showing all sorts of innovative applications,” he said.
India, which is the world’s third largest polluter but has very little per capita emissions compared to developed nations, has shown rapid progress on the front of renewable energy and aims to reach net zero by 2070.
The co-chair and trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also highlighted that “most of the emission” contributing to heating comes from the rich countries and yet “most of the damage” will be in the middle-income and lower-income countries that are near the equator.
“So it’s an incredible injustice,” he said, adding: “Even though it kind of creeps up on you, we need to act now in a very big way.”
Mr Gates said the “global innovation boom” is taking on the tough problems of climate change.
“It just gets worse somewhere slightly every year, but it’s one of the hardest things to fix,” he said.