Billionaire Bill Gates is concerned many Westerners will refuse to live in poverty in order to help fight climate change.
“I don’t think we can count on people living an impoverished lifestyle as a solution to climate change,” Gates said at an event in India on March 1.
“You know, meat consumption in India will be less … That’s wonderful. Will all Indians become vegetarians? Will all Americans become vegetarians? I wouldn’t want to count on it. Anybody who wants to evangelize that, they’re welcome to. I won’t resist in any way,” Gates added.
Gates has been pushing for rich Western nations to start eating synthetic beef as he buys vast swaths of American farmland.
During an online interaction on Reddit earlier this year, Gates pushed for the widespread adoption of non-animal meat products.
“For people who want to go Vegan that is great but I don’t think most people will do that. There are companies making ‘beef’ in new ways and people working to still use cows but reduce the methane emissions,” he wrote.
“I have backed a number of innovators in this space including Beyond and Impossible and Memphis. I think eventually these products will be very good even though their share is small today.”
Buying up farmland
The Microsoft founder is now the “largest private farmland owner” in the United States, owning over 270,000 acres of farmland in 19 states.
Gates is also worried about energy consumption, calling on Governments to implement strict laws to limit the use and completely ban things like air conditioning, which could be “good for the climate.”
“But as India gets warmer and warmer, I’m betting the demand for air conditioning is going to skyrocket,” Gates said.
“The country that has the most air conditioning by far is the United States. Even Europe doesn’t have what we have,’ Gates added.
“And so, as it gets hotter, you know, you demand more electricity, which, if it’s not green, then you’re in a positive feedback loop,” he continued.
Gates also highlighted that nations like India demand more energy, cement, and steel , “where even if you stop at, say, a quarter of American energy intensity, that climate change is very, very dramatic.”
The billionaire also suggested that even when the United States uses “half as much energy per person,” it would be “unjust” to ask India to maintain its current consumption.
In an interview with the BBC in February, Gates argued it was okay for him to fly private and he was part of the solution to fighting climate change.
“Well, I buy the gold standard, of funding Climeworks, to do direct air capture that far exceeds my family’s carbon footprint,” Gates said.