An Open Letter to Mr. Bill Gates

The Quality of Life for the World’s Poorest Can Be Advanced Farther, Faster, Cheaper and More Surely Through Adaptation than Through Zero-Carbon Technologies

Guest Post By Indur M. Goklany

A few days ago, Tom Nelson had a link to a blog posted by Mr. Bill Gates titled, Recommended Reading on Climate Change, in which he claims that the risk of “serious warming” from anthropogenic climate change is large enough to justify action. Mr. Gates adds,

“I agree, especially because even moderate warming could cause mass starvation and have other very negative effects on the world’s poorest 2 billion people. This is one of the reasons why I’ve gotten very interested in new energy technologies that could move us toward zero carbon emissions. As I said at TED, my dream is to create zero-carbon technologies that will be cheaper than coal or oil. That way, even climate skeptics will want to adopt them, and more of the world’s poorest people will be able to benefit from the services and the improved quality of life that energy makes possible.”

Over the years I have been very impressed by Mr. Gates’ desire and efforts to improve the quality of life for the world’s poorest people and to literally put his money where his mouth is, but the notion that “even moderate warming could cause mass starvation and have other very negative effects on the world’s poorest 2 billion people” is fundamentally flawed. And there are far better and more effective methods of improving their quality of life than through squandering money on zero-carbon technologies.

So, to make these points, I fashioned a response to Mr. Gates’ post, but was frustrated in my efforts to post it either on the specific thread or via the General Inquiry form at his website. Accordingly, I decided to write Mr. Gates an open letter to convey my thoughts. The letter follows.

I thank Mr. Watts for publishing it on his invaluable blog.

——————————–

Dear Mr. Gates,

For a long time I had admired your perspicacity and acumen in trying to address some of the world’s truly important problems (such as malaria and hunger) rather than signing on to the latest chic causes (e.g., global warming). But having read your entry, “Recommended Reading on Climate Change” at http://www.thegatesnotes.com/Learning/article.aspx?ID=127, on the Gates Notes, I fear my admiration may have been premature.

First, the analytical basis for the notion that “even moderate warming could cause mass starvation and have other very negative effects on the world’s poorest 2 billion people” is, to put it mildly, weak. Virtually all analyses of the future impacts of global warming impose the hypothetical climate of tomorrow (often for the year 2100 and 2200) on the world of yesterday (most use a baseline of 1990). That is, they assume that future populations’ capacity to cope with or adapt to climate change (also known as “adaptive capacity”) will be little changed from what it was in 1990!

Specifically, they fail to consider that future populations, particularly in today’s developing countries, will be far wealthier than they were in the baseline year (1990), per the IPCC’s own emissions scenarios. In fact, as shown in Figure 1, under the warmest IPCC scenario, by 2100 the average inhabitant of developing countries would be more than twice as wealthy as the average US inhabitant in 2006, even if one reduces GDP per capita to account fully for the loss in GDP from global warming. Thus, developing countries’ adaptive capacity should by 2100 substantially exceed the US’s adaptive capacity today.

Figure 1: Net GDP per capita, 1990-2200, after accounting for losses due to global warming for four major IPCC emission and climate scenarios. The net GDP per capita estimates are extremely conservative since the losses from global warming are based on the Stern Review’s 95th percentile estimates. For 2100 and 2200, the scenarios are arranged from the warmest (A1FI) on the left to the coolest (B1) on the right. The average global temperature increase from 1990 to 2085 for the scenarios are as follows: 4°C for AIFI, 3.3°C for A2, 2.4°C for B2, and 2.1°C for B1. For context, in 2006, GDP per capita for industrialized countries was $19,300; the United States, $30,100; and developing countries, $1,500. Source: Goklany, Discounting the Future, Regulation 32: 36-40 (Spring 2009).

And Figure 1 does not even consider secular technological change, which over the next 100 years would further increase adaptive capacity. [Since you have been in the forefront of technological change for quite some time now, you probably appreciate better than I that no confidence should be placed on the results of any analyses that assume little or no technological change over a period of decades.] For instance, the analyses of food production and hunger ignore the future potential of genetically-modified crops and precision agriculture to reduce hunger, regardless of cause. These technologies should not only be much more advanced in 2100 (or 2200) than they are today, but they should also be a lot more affordable even in the developing world because they will be wealthier (see Figure 1) while the technologies should also become more cost-effective.

In any case, because future increases in adaptive capacity are largely ignored, future impact estimates are grossly exaggerated, including any findings that claim there will be “mass starvation” from “even moderate warming”.

Second, even if one uses these flawed analyses that grossly exaggerate global warming impacts, one finds that the contribution of global warming to major problems like cumulative mortality from hunger, malaria and extreme events should be relatively small through the foreseeable future, compared to the contribution of non-global warming related factors. See Figure 2.

Figure 2: Deaths in 2085 Due to Hunger, Malaria and Extreme Events, with and without Global Warming (GW). Only upper bound estimates are shown for mortality due to global warming. Average global temperature increase from 1990-2085 for each scenario is shown below the relevant bar. Source: Goklany, Global public health: Global warming in perspective, Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons 14 (3): 69-75 (2009).

Figure 2 also tells us that eliminating global warming, even if possible, would reduce mortality in 2085 by, at most, 13% (under the warmest, A1FI, scenario). On the other hand, there are adaptive approaches that could address 100% of the mortality problem (including the contribution of global warming to that problem).

The first such approach is focused adaptation, i.e., adaptive measures focused specifically on reducing vulnerability to climate sensitive threats. The rationale behind focused adaptation is that the technologies, practices and systems that would reduce the problems of, say, malaria or hunger, from non-global warming related causes would also help reduce the problems of malaria and hunger due to global warming. See “Climate Change and Malaria”.

The second adaptive approach is to remove barriers to and stimulate broad economic development. This would reduce vulnerability to virtually all problems, climate-sensitive or not. That this approach would work is suggested by the fact that, by and large, wealthier countries have lower (age-related) mortalities regardless of the cause (and, therefore, higher life expectancies).

The fundamental principle behind these adaptive approaches is that since global warming mainly exacerbates existing problems rather than creates new ones. If we solve or reduce vulnerability to the underlying problem — think malaria, hunger or extreme events for “focused adaptation” and the general lack of adaptive capacity for “broad economic development” — then we would also be reducing vulnerability to the contribution of global warming to that problem.

As shown in Table 1, human well-being would be advanced lot more cost-effectively through either of the two adaptive approaches than by curbing global warming.

Table 1: Comparing costs and benefits of advancing well-being via emission reductions (mitigation), focused adaptation, and broad economic development. MDGs = Millennium Development Goals. Entries in red indicate a worsening of human or environmental well-being. Source: Goklany, Is Climate Change the “Defining Challenge of Our Age”? Energy & Environment 20(3): 279-302 (2009).

So, if you want to advance the well-being of the poorest countries, you could advance it farther, more surely and more cheaply through adaptive approaches than through zero-carbon technologies. Adaptive approaches would also advance well-being more rapidly, since curbing warming is necessarily a slow process because of the inertia of the climate system.

I also note from your blog posting that you appreciate that quality of life is dependent on energy use. Given this, I would argue that for developing countries, increasing energy use should have a much higher priority than whether it is based on non-zero carbon technologies.

Finally, following this letter, I have listed recommended readings on climate change that elaborate on the points I have striven to make.

With regards,

Indur Goklany

Website: http://goklany.org; E-mail: igoklany@verizon.net

————————————————————

REFERENCES (in which the ideas advanced in this letter are more fully developed)

1. Deaths and Death Rates from Extreme Weather Events: 1900-2008. Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons 14 (4): 102-09 (2009).

2. Climate change is not the biggest health threat. Lancet 374: 973-75 (2009).

3. Global public health: Global warming in perspective. Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons 14 (3): 69-75 (2009).

4. Discounting the Future, Regulation 32: 36-40 (Spring 2009).

5. Is Climate Change the “Defining Challenge of Our Age”? Energy & Environment 20(3): 279-302 (2009).

6. What to Do about Global Warming, Policy Analysis, Number 609, Cato Institute, Washington, DC, 5 February 2008.

7. Climate Change and Malaria. Letter. Science 306: 55-57 (2004).


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Dave Springer

Bill Gates writes:
“And everybody agrees that CO2 absorbs infrared radiation from the sun, which tends to produce a greenhouse effect.”
Afraid not, Bill. Everybody agrees that the surface absorbs shortwave radiation from the sun and the surface then emits it as infrared radiation which is absorbed primarily and overwhelmingly by atmospheric water vapor.
I’ve met Bill Gates and seen him speak on several occasions. Statements like this make his genius look like its limited to software architecture and monopoly-building.

Larry Fields

“In fact, as shown in Figure 1, under the warmest IPCC scenario, by 2100 the average inhabitant of developing countries would be more than twice as wealthy as the average US inhabitant in 2006, even if one reduces GDP per capita to account fully for the loss in GDP from global warming.”
Sounds like pie in the sky to me.

Dave Springer

Given:
1) greater energy consumption goes hand in hand with higher standards of living and gross domestic product
2) fossil fuels are nothing but increasingly costly to recover as the lower hanging fruits are harvested to extinction
3) Bill Gates’ genuine humanitarian interest (which I most certainly admire)
then his greatest interest is in finding cheaper ways to produce and distribute energy. In order to do this we cannot afford to throttle the extant goose that’s laying the golden eggs (fossil fuel consumption) before we have another, more productive goose.
Gates might be ill-informed about the risks (small) and benefits (large) of increased atmospheric CO2 but regardless of that he appears to be focusing on the right path to take in regard to future energy production and distribution. He’s doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. I tend to regard CAGW as having some value in that it tends to light a few fires under efforts to find better ways of providing the energy needed to improve living standards and net global productivity. It’s the abuse of CAGW by the power/money hungry (scientific establishment, politicians, governments, paper traders) and the well intentioned but disastrously naive environmentalists that makes it not something where the ends justify the means.

Rhyl Dearden

Warm is better than cold. From the Medieval Warm Period, which was hotter than today, we note that that was the time when the great cathedrals of Europe were built because the countries were wealthier than in cooler times like the Little Ice Age – food production is much easier when it is warm. During the LIA was the time for witch burning – people were starving and blamed poor old women because the crops failed.
CO2 is having the positive effect of increasing crop yeilds.

Martin Brumby

Another brilliant post by Indur Goklany. His contributions to the debate are always extremely well argued and valuable.

Dave Springer

Caveat:
I believe the ultimate answer to the energy problem isn’t in finding vastly better ways to produce and distribute virtually unlimited amounts energy but rather in finding vastly more efficient ways of utilizing energy to produce the things we need to sustain and improve global living standards. Nano-technology, particularly in the form of modifying and harnessing the molecular machinery in microscopic forms of life, is the next great leap in technology. This will provide us with fundamentally new ways of producing things with hugely lower energy and labor costs. The cool thing is there’s very little invention required. It’s all a matter of reverse engineering the molecular machinery in extant living things – a technology that’s been mature, tested, and proven for billions of years. It’s a technology served up for us on a silver platter and we’re just now on the cusp of understanding it well enough to begin exploiting it to its almost unimaginably large potential.

Philip Thomas

Since Anthony Watts announced his decision to step back for a while, not one post has questioned the core ‘science’ of AGW. All I have seen is acceptance of a future that is warming because of man’s emissions. While the message is softened, we have still been cleverly fed the idea that the underlying principles are sound and the scientists who propose them were honest.
This open letter appeals to much of the sentiments of those who regularly come to this site, distracting us from its subtle message (the relentless message of recent days), that man is causing the earth to warm.
Is this the end of WUWT?

TimM

I see no reason to detract from Bill Gates using his own resources to develop zero-carbon energy. Far better for it to be done successfully by Gates than ineptly by government meddling. I only hope he brings it to market quickly before government wastes our money trying to.

John Marshall

Claims by a software billionaire are just that claims. He sees himself as a savior of mankind, now that he has milked the computer world of its cash.
The best way to help the worlds poorest is allow the generation of electricity using cheap fossil fuels, coal being the cheapest. Development of the third world would see the reduction of birth rate, as child mortality rates tumbled given good health care.
It is ridiculous to claim that so called eco-friendly power generation, like wind or solar, will be the future. Neither provide what we require as a reliable system for power generation and in every country using wind power they have found that not only does it fail to exceed a few percent of total generation, it can cause distribution problems and requires backup by nuclear or fossil fuel. So to save the environment we must forget wind power, due to its resource hungry nature, and rely on the backup that is in use now. Solar is just as small a provider and attempts to exceed 9% have increased costs by many times making them too expensive for under developed countries. It will only supply power for up to 12 hours a day and then only when cloud cover is at a minimum.
PS. I do not get any money from the fossil fuel companies!

Keith Battye

Mr Gates should get a grip.
He is presently spending his money to protect poor people in the third world from the venality and incompetence of their governments. By doing this he is supporting crass politicians and those who support them.
This interest he has now in AGW is just as misguided though for different reasons. All of Mr Gates’ philanthropy is a simple waste of money.
In the third world he is simply treating the symptoms of bad governance and makes no attempt to resolve the cause of the misery there. With AGW he will be funding poor science at the expense of real science.
If I was starting up a new business enterprise built on technological advances Mr Gates would be at the top of my list of people to go to for advice. When it comes to AGW or third world development I reckon my mate down the street has as much to offer.
Let us not forget that charity is always about the donor, never about the recipient.

Charlie

And best misuse of the word ‘literally’ goes to:
‘ Mr Gates’ desire….to literally put his money where his mouth is…’
Hmm. Hope he’s got a big mouth!

UK Sceptic

The day this sceptic wants to adopt a fluffy dream rather than hard reality is the day I curl up my toes.

I agree with Philip Thomas.
The insidious AGW propaganda has found its way on the pages of this site.
Lately, too many articles published here assume by default that there is global warming, and that it is substantially anthropogenic. This assumption is false.
All Mr. Gates has ever said and wrote in his life were politically correct platitudes.
I’d rather listen to other successful businessman, head of the famous RyanAir (though I don’t necessarily agree with his choice of expressions):
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1310860/Ryanair-boss-Michael-OLeary-says-global-warming-doesnt-exist.html

Roger Carr

Thank you for writing this letter, Indur. It encourages me to place more faith in my own feelings that Mr Gates has lost his way on the climate trail; a puzzling development in a man I feel is exceptionally admirable in all he has given us from his very first operating system.
    Even if AGW were happening, the solutions you propose are the reasonable response.
    If any warming is taking place quite naturally, this would only enhance the value of the responses you propose.
    If we are now cooling, again your responses would be of value.
    The more I consider Mr Gates’ quoted words (the risk of “serious warming” from anthropogenic climate change is large enough to justify action.), the more puzzled I become. By now I would have expected a man of innovation, business and goodwill (as demonstrated by his charity) to have sensed the backing away of the carbon freebooters meant building scepticism into his thinking; the continuing changes of terminology to describe the proposition from “global warming” down the scale to far less emotive terms by the lobbies to have sounded a warning that all was not as settled as originally trumpeted; and the failure of grandiose schemes to save the poor and starving as pursued by so many of the world charities as a major caution against doing “good” as they do it.
       Mr Gates, by his own hand, has created wealth and respect almost beyond imagination. It will be a great shame if he squanders this through a slip in concentration.

TimC

Great letter. As all governments are essentially conflicted (by the prospect of new revenue streams and/or captive markets) and the pressure and advocacy groups essentially corrupted (“we know who you are; we know where you live” indeed!) it is difficult to see where to turn for dispassionate, open-minded, analysis that we all in our own way seek – on future energy sources and policies.
I for one would be interested in Mr Gates’ views, following receipt of this letter.

Allanj

One of the great benefits of adaptation measures is that they are helpful if the world warms for any reason. Carbon reduction is helpful only in the questionable case that warming is caused by CO2 emissions.

RichieP

Prince Charles, that well-known scientist and all-round intellectual, gives us his view on the topic:
“I would say to sceptics: “It may be convenient to believe all these greenhouse gases we are pouring into the atmosphere disappear through holes conveniently into space, but it doesn’t work like that.”‘
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1310898/Prince-Charles-interviewed-Daybreak-Adrian-Chiles-Christine-Bleakley.html
Thank you for that Your Royal Highness, I am now convinced and will never fly again. Such an apercu, such penetration.
[snip] Charlie has been the best advert for republicanism for many years now.

RichieP

And, I regret to say, I agree with some other posters here that WUWT seems to be becoming rather tepid re CAGW. Speak to us Anthony, please!

cementafriend

“Philip Thomas says:
September 11, 2010 at 1:33 am
Since Anthony Watts announced his decision to step back for a while, not one post has questioned the core ‘science’ of AGW. All I have seen is acceptance of a future that is warming because of man’s emissions. While the message is softened, we have still been cleverly fed the idea that the underlying principles are sound and the scientists who propose them were honest.”
Agree with the above. There is plenty of evidence that CO2 is either makes no contribution to atmospheric warming or its contribution is swapped by other effects such as clouds. Gerlich & Tscheuschner 2009, have falsified the Greenhouse concept in the frame of Physics and Thermodynamics; and again in Mar 2010 from Hydrodynamic and Thermodynamics in deriving barometric formulae; Chilinger et al in “Cooling of the Atmosphere Due to CO2 Emission” Energy Sources 30, Jan2009 considered lapse rates on Earth and Venus using measured temperatures; then there are the numerous articles showing CO2 lags temperature in long term by 800+-200 years, in shorter term (20 to 100 years) by 1 to 5 years and daily by two to 4 hours.
The tropical hot spot from models which include CO2 causing warming does not exist.
On this website there have been posts about raw temperature data showing no significant increase since 1900.
Why accept anything from so-called ( but better pseudo) scientists who manipulate data, leave out scientific laws, and twist conclusions to suit there own purpose?
The truth is that the AGW alarmists do not understand thermodynamics, heat transfer, fluid dynamics, statistics or economics. Bill Gates has been conned. Maybe, he lost things somewhere. I started his 1995 book “The Road Ahead” years ago when it was first given to me. I note the book mark at page 136 where I gave up. It happens to many that they achieve early then fizzle out. Einstein did his best work prior to World war 1.

DJ Meredith

If Gates’ energy solutions run as efficiently as his software, which is his specialty, then we’re doomed.
The “Green” screen of death will become the new standard.

AntonyIndia

Allanj beat me to it. Adaptation saves the poor from human and/or natural temperature rises/ falls and all there consequences.
Bill Gates risks wasting a lot of money on the new carbon fashion resulting in wasting a lot of poor lives.
Please stick with the old fashioned but very effective war on hunger and malaria for maximum result. Less cool but so what.

Pops

Philip Thomas: Is this the end of WUWT?
My thoughts exactly. Has WUWT been got at? Will Al Gore be invited to make a guest post soon?

Joe Lalonde

Dave Springer says:
September 11, 2010 at 1:22 am
Just like fussion technology.
Science is vastly corrupted by many sources. This is why our knowledge base cannot look at any actual physical evidence as it interferes with the many careers based on bad science.
Do we have any open forums for good technology to be looked at? No.
They must go through a very rigerous and expensive process funded by institutions (funded by government) or governments.
We have yet to incorporated a circle with motion. By golly, the planets do this.

H.R.

From Bill Gates: “As I said at TED, my dream is to create zero-carbon technologies that will be cheaper than coal or oil.”
Statements like that make me nervous. Not the “cheaper than coal or oil” part but the zero-carbon mindset that could be inferred. CO2 is a good thing. I worry about the dunderheads that want to reduce or eliminate it.
How will we support all the additional agriculture needed in a more populous world without additional CO2?
I’m all for global warming because it sure beats the alternative.

It’s amazing what electricity does for third world countries. I wonder why Gates wants to deny them that? Why would you want to deny poor people the ability to have a better life.
It’s the same thing with DDT, it’s amazing how fast the death rates drop from malaria, and mostly for children under the age of 5. Some 35 million children in Africa have died from malaria, a mostly preventable disease, since DDT was banned. Quite a record of genocide, if you ask me.
I wonder what it is that rots people’s brain. Do these folks actually think destroying every tree in the forest to cook food and keep warm is a better alternative?

paulsnz

Bill you stole everything from Gary Arlen Kildall you know it!. Everything you stand for is a sham.

Alberta Slim

I like Indur’s post.
And, why should we believe Mr. Gates on CAGW?
Didn’t he say that 640k would be enough memory for anybody?
His ego will never let him admit that he may be wrong.

Contrary to popular opinion, Bill Gates is not a brilliant software designer. Bill Gates knows how to sell a product. Bill Gates bought the original DOS and then licensed it to IBM. Xerox corporation invented the graphical user interface (GUI) and Apple had a true GUI before Microsoft. Microsoft didn’t invent the web browser either. The Mozilla group, working for Netscape, made the original web browser. Neither did Microsoft invent the office suite. Microsoft copies someone else’s ideas and attempts to make them better. Bill Gates started that legacy a long time ago. Bill Gates is smart, but just because he made his fortune in software does not make him a brilliant programmer.

Larry Fields (re: ” … by 2100 the average inhabitant of developing countries would be more than twice as wealthy as the average US inhabitant in 2006 …”) : “Sounds like pie in the sky to me.
From 2006 to 2100 is 94 years. One could do a quick reasonableness check. Hong Kong was a developing country 94 years ago (1916). The average income of HK now is $US31,420 (Atlas method) or $US44,070 (PPP method) http://siteresources.worldbank.org/DATASTATISTICS/Resources/GNIPC.pdf (actually 2009).
The average US taxpayer’s income in 1916 was ??? about 300 ??? “in 2005 constant dollars” http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/16-05intax.pdf – maybe the average was a lot less.
Since I don’t know what a “2005 constant dollar” is, I can’t complete the calculation, but the “pie in the sky” isn’t glaringly obvious??

Ziiex Zeburz

The problem with Africa is the NGO’s How can a country advance when the NGO’s provide all for free, try opening a shoe factory or a clothing factory in Africa, impossible, why ? because the ‘do gooders’ of this world make sure you donate all your used garbage to the poor and starving, a Tv program in Italy at the time of the Naples garbage strikes followed a train load of garbage that was suposed to go to a diposal site in Germany, at the cost to the Italian taxpayer of millions of $, the trains all ended up in the port of Hamburg where the gagbage was loaded onto a ship along with 29,000 tonnes of other garbage and headed for the Ivory Coast, when asked, the Captian said his Company had 11 ships on this garbage disposal to Africa, I ask why not save the Italian taxpayer millions of $ and ship it from Naples ? NGO,s

beng

I feel empowered. Even Bill Gates isn’t any smarter than the average useful idiot concerning AGW. He doesn’t seem to know CO2 increases crop yields (and water-use efficiency), not decrease them.

BillD

I am fairly optimistic about the medium term economic progress of our country but economists who predict the economies of rather unstable developing countries over periods of 100+ years do not inspire confidence. Effects of climate change are also likely to be highly variable. Some countries may be devestated while others may be uneffected or even benefited. Overall, the idea that we predict the costs of climate change, the costs of mitigation and economic development throughout the world lacks credibility.

DirkH

Wade says:
September 11, 2010 at 4:46 am
“Contrary to popular opinion, Bill Gates is not a brilliant software designer. Bill Gates knows how to sell a product. Bill Gates bought the original DOS and then licensed it to IBM. Xerox corporation invented the graphical user interface (GUI) and Apple had a true GUI before Microsoft. ”
That’s because Apple hired the Xerox guy who did the GUI at Palo Alto, Alan Kay. What’s your point? Companies buy talent and ideas and refine them; Microsoft bought an OS core called QDOS from Tim Paterson; do you think they shoved it out the door to IBM like that without refining and improving it?
And do you think a “brilliant programmer” never steals an idea? How about Linus Thorvalds? He created Linux as a clone of MINIX because he didn’t agree with MINIX’ licensing terms. He had the expressed goal of creating a drop-in replacement.

“…cheaper than coal or oil. That way, even climate skeptics will want to adopt them…”
At last somebody understands me!

DirkH

Alberta Slim says:
September 11, 2010 at 4:44 am
“[…]Didn’t he say that 640k would be enough memory for anybody?
His ego will never let him admit that he may be wrong.”
Do you have a citation? Gates strongly denies ever having said that.
http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9101699/The_640K_quote_won_t_go_away_but_did_Gates_really_say_it_

Ziiex Zeburz (September 11, 2010 at 5:16 am)
The ‘problems’ with charities and NGOs are discussed to an extent in this interesting animation looking at ethical implications of charitable giving. I certainly found it thought-provoking.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpAMbpQ8J7g&fs=1&hl=en_GB&rel=0&border=1]

Alberta Slim

DirkH says:
September 11, 2010 at 5:37 am
“Citation on Mr. Gates……………”
No. Sorry about that. I never checked. I just qouted another internet lie.
I will be more cautious in future.
AS

kramer

Statements like this make his genius look like its limited to software architecture and monopoly-building.”
His genius is limited to what he can copy from Apple and Steve Jobs.
[do you expect a comment where you accuse him of copying to get published? Please be more careful in what you say ~jove, mod]

Philip Thomas is exactly right.
I am fully prepared to change my mind, if and when there are quantifiable measurements produced, showing conclusively that X emission of anthropogenic CO2 causes X rise in T. But so far there is almost total reliance by the believers in AGW on always-inaccurate computer models, which take the place of non-existent raw data supporting their conjecture.
Looking at the many charts of CO2 and temperature [I have dozens like this], it is clear that whatever the climate sensitivity to CO2 may be, it must be very small, certainly less than 1°C. If it were large, temperature would closely track CO2.
We know that on all time scales a rise in temperature causes a rise in CO2. But there is no empirical, testable evidence showing that a rise in CO2 causes a rise in temperature. That hypothesis is more of a conjecture. “Everyone” knows it’s true — but where is the real world, replicable, testable evidence? The ‘evidence’ is found in climate models, which are, of course, not evidence at all.
The late, great John Daly shows here that the trumped-up claim of climate sensitivity to CO2 is unsupportable and easily deconstructed.
Purveyors of the CO2=CAGW Conjecture have yet to produce solid, testable evidence backing their specious claim. Until/unless they do, they are practicing non-science, pseudo-science, anti-science, and all the other projection-based accusations the alarmist crowd hurls at scientific skeptics — who need to prove nothing, and only ask for convincing evidence that “AGW” even exists in a measurable, testable quantity.
AGW could be a fact. Or, it may be based on an entirely coincidental, spurious correlation.
At this point, AGW is simply a conjecture lacking convincing empirical evidence. So let us hold the climate alarmists’ feet to the fire, and demand that they begin to take the Scientific Method seriously: they must provide testable, real world, replicable evidence, based on raw data, showing that the rise in a minor trace gas is causing global warming.

Olen

Years ago when Gates was called before the congress he said he has always been non political in his business. Not a direct quote but I think close. But after that he changed.

Gnomish

Sacrifice is evil. Altruism is a suicidal impulse.
Preach self sacrifice and you’ll lose any intelligent audience.

Jim Barker

Bill Gates wants to do the right thing. Therein lies the problem. Determining what is right. There’s always the “better to teach a man to fish, than to give him a fish” way. But that method requires a great deal of careful consideration, and just giving stuff away is much easier, especially if you need something to point to for your accomplishments.
Verity Jones says:
September 11, 2010 at 5:46 am
Very thought provoking, but didn’t seem to offer a solution.

GregO

Verity Jones,
Thanks for the clip – it is spot on!

Kate

The “global warming” fraud is adapted and promoted exclusively by rich people and big organizations, and western governments and their various agencies that have tons of cash to spend. The richer they are, the more they shill for it.

bruce

In a hundred years I expect countries to be burning coal in specially built furnaces to produce CO2. Having converted to Nuclear energy (hopefully) in the meantime and hence finding that more CO2 is necessary for food production. The “funny” aspect in this is of course the hell bent for leather drive to reduce CO2 emissions now.
I have often wondered the effect on Mr. Gates had he been born three years earlier.
Despite his intellect I suspect he’d have become a great Professor in teaching Math. Its not the genes, its the matching of the genes with the environment. If the environment in three years time is enough to make that big a difference in the worlds social evolutionary development, worrying about infinitesimal (conjectured) climate change over hundreds of years seems odd. An impact of a future “Mr. Gates” being many more times powerful than AGW.
Now in battling that conjectured CAGW notion the only driving position one needs to address, is the CO2 equation that its a scientifically proven fact CO2 will warm the planet.

David Onkels

Once again, Keith Battye sees the issue most clearly: “He is presently spending his money to protect poor people in the third world from the venality and incompetence of their governments. By doing this he is supporting crass politicians and those who support them.
This interest he has now in AGW is just as misguided though for different reasons. All of Mr Gates’ philanthropy is a simple waste of money.”
Mr. Gates would do the most good for inhabitants of the third world if he were to invest his money in the furtherance of good governance, the establishment of rules for and protection of property rights, a shift from the rule of men to the rule of law, and the expansion of micro-capital programs.
Everything else follows.

Eric Dailey

Gates is a thief. His father advocates and funds eugenics.

Philip Thomas, Alexander Feht, RichieP, cementafriend, et al.
Uh, oh – to be denounced by the true believers in AGW because I don’t buy the mitigation myth only to be disavowed by skeptics because I argue adaptation is the way to go!
Life in the middle — or, as some may say less charitably, “a muddle”? – is never easy.
More seriously, this is a letter not a thesis, so I have to brief and to the point within the context of the post that instigated this. If you want to know about my broader views on AGW, please see the references that were provided, and my website (which is reasonably up-to-date) at http://goklany.org. My latest thinking on global warming (and developing countries) is probably best captured in the paper, Trapped Between the Falling Sky and the Rising Seas: The Imagined Terrors of the Impacts of Climate Change, at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1548711. I think the title captures my broader views quite succinctly.
Second, implicit in the letter is the argument that even if one accepts the science according to the IPCC and its estimates of future emissions and global warming impacts, there is no policy case that can be made for pushing mitigation in general and zero-carbon emission technologies in particular. Adaptive approaches are much better and more effective methods of advancing human well-being, than be pushing them.
The criticism I have of my own letter is that it fails to point out that additional CO2 can have — as pointed out by H.R. and beng, for instance – positive impacts. In fact, even the IPCC has stated that little to moderate warming could be net benefit to the world at large. For references, see the first page of the paper at http://goklany.org/library/Richer-but-warmer%20RV.pdf. My reason for not getting into this is that I wanted to keep my letter brief and focused on the main point, namely, regardless of everything, adaptation, broadly defined is the way to go, and mitigation, by and large, is a loser for human well-being.
Finally, just because Anthony is kind enough to post my musings from time to time, my views are not necessarily Anthony’s. In fact, what I like about Anthony is that he lets others speak without dictating a specific line of thought.
Gotta go now, but will have additional responses later on.

Douglas DC

Verity Jones- thanks for that clip. I and my wife have been involved with a charity that is located in Haiti. What is said in that clip, I see there. For too long I have been troubled by this:” We can’t interfere with their culture,”-as if living in a pile of garbage is a culture, mentality. Elevation, the lack of want, by development, is the way up. Yet there are those who don’t see either by design or ignorance, Oscar Wilde’s point,
what good is it if you fix someone’s problem yet they still live in a dump?
Maybe this is why Gates is teamed up with Toshiba for the 4s reactor design.
I think there is a time when you have to say that the “prime directive” goes out the window for the good of the planet and it’s people. -It can be done….

Gaylon

Indur M. Goklany says:
September 11, 2010 at 9:56 am
Well said, and thank you sir for your post!
My gut tells me that efforts at charity by Mr. Gates, and others of the super rich elitist group are ‘generally’ founded from the following premise: “Gawd!! I have a ton of money, how should I spend it?” These people then distribute impressive amounts of support to people who need it, and again I say ‘generally’, as a social salve(how can you not feel somewhat guilty knowing you have more money than you can possibly spend in a dozen lifetimes?). ‘Impressive’, a relative term, to the most of us. Stated as a percentage of their total income, we might not be as impressed (apologies: I do not have the time right now to research the figures…anyone else?:-).
I see the advance of charities from the super rich intelligencia position as a statement of, ” I am evolved, I am intelligent, I will give money where it is needed”. All right and proper in and of themselves, truly. I could have included in the aforementioned list, “I know what must be done, better than most (if not all), and associate with others that believe as I do, we will get it done”.
And this without regard to the “betterment” of ALL mankind: the impoverished. They would rather siphon more money into (their?) industry than expend more to relieve suffering. Something they could do…right now.
However, Mr. Gates now raises the zero carbon technology meme, one that we all know has intrinsic weaknesses at current capabilities and technology. But THIS stands to be a money-maker for the long term. He steps from charity for the many, which has no net return (other than social) to an endeavor of industry that will change (save?) the world, and no doubt one that will make a few people richer. Will anyone disagree that these guys are capatalistic / entrepeneurial / adversarial at their core?
These people have enough money right now to “fix” the planet: end hunger, poverty, sanitation, and disease (for the most part anyway). I am not just referring to personal income but also the immense resources at their disposal to do what they say they want to do.
My mind tells me that this, at least in part, is absolutely NOT what they want to do, regardless of what they say. Otherwise they would shut-up and just do it: fix the planet. The information / TRUTH is out there, they have better / quicker access to it than most of us. To think they are not aware of it is just plain naivete. It’s an agenda.
Mr. Gates et al need to stop and listen to the likes of Mr. Goklany, to heed his admonitions and drop the pretense. Will they?
Hope for the best…plan for the worst.