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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Bill Gates: The Equation To Get Our CO2 Down To Zero.


What I needed was an equation that would help me understand how we might get our CO2 down to zero.

Here’s what I came up with:  equation
That might look complicated. It’s not.

On the right side you have the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) we put in the atmosphere. This is what we need to get to zero. It’s based on the four factors on the left side of the equation: the world’s population (P) multiplied by the services (S) used by each person; the energy (E) needed to provide each of those services; and finally, the carbon dioxide (C) produced by that energy.

As you learned in math class, any number multiplied by zero will equal zero. So if we want to get to zero CO2, then we need to get at least one of the four factors on the left to zero.

Let’s go through them, one by one, and see what we get.

The world’s population (P) is currently 7 billion and expected to increase to 9 billion by 2050. No chance it’ll be zero.

Next, services. This is everything: food, clothing, heat, houses, cars, TV, toothbrushes, Elmo dolls, Taylor Swift albums, etc. This is the number that I was saying earlier needs to go up in poor countries, so people can have lights, refrigerators, and so on. So (S) can’t be zero, either.

Let’s take a look at (E). That’s the energy needed per service. There’s some good news here. Fuel-efficient cars, LED light bulbs, and other inventions are making it possible to use energy more efficiently.

Many people, and you may be one of them, are also changing their lifestyles to conserve energy. They’re biking and carpooling to save gas, turning down the heat a couple degrees, adding insulation to their homes. All of these efforts help cut down on energy use.

Unfortunately, they don’t get us to zero. In fact, most scientists agree that by 2050 we’ll be using 50 percent more energy than we do today.

So none of the first three—population, services, and energy—are getting close to zero. That leaves the final factor (C), the amount of carbon emitted per each unit of energy. Click here to read the full report https://www.gatesnotes.com/2016-Annual-Letter.  

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