Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has been making headlines with his statement that rich nations should switch to “100% synthetic beef” in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are driving global climate change.
Talking about his new book’ How to Avoid a Climate Disaster’, the billionaire told MIT Technology Review magazine, that governments constrained by their wealth – “the poorest 80 countries” – cannot move to synthetic beef but all rich countries should definitely do it.
Bill said in the interview, “I do think all rich countries should move to 100% synthetic beef. You can get used to the taste difference, and the claim is they’re going to make it taste even better over time. Eventually, that green premium is modest enough that you can sort of change the [behaviour of] people or use regulation to totally shift the demand.”
Bill said that plant-based beef is the only viable option as it would be next to impossible to eliminate emissions from burping cows and fertilizer to reduce methane emissions.
“There are all the things where they feed them different food, like there’s this one compound that gives you a 20% reduction [in methane emissions]. But sadly, those bacteria [in their digestive system that produce methane] are a necessary part of breaking down the grass. And so, I don’t know if there’ll be some natural approach there. I’m afraid the synthetic [protein alternatives like plant-based burgers] will be required for at least the beef thing.”
His book highlights the importance of policy intervention and technology in averting climate-related disasters in the future. He also stresses on the fact that livestock production is a major contributor of greenhouse gases. According to him, policy changes and tech innovations are needed to curb industries with the largest carbon footprints, such as animal agriculture.