‘Clean energy breakthrough’ will save the planet within 15 years, says Bill Gates

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Bill Gates has predicted researchers will “discover a clean energy breakthrough that will save our planet and power our world” within the next 15 years.

The tech billionaire has predicted that innovation will deliver the clean energy the world desperately needs, but only if the worlds young people, businesses, and governments step up to the plate and confront the challenge.

The Microsoft founder’s statement came through an annual open letter written by Bill and his wife Melinda. The open letter provides an update on the couple’s plans and ambitions – primarily to stimulate innovation in technologies for tackling climate change, energy poverty, and gender inequality.

Bill’s section of the letter, which focused on climate change, is addressed to teenagers. Gates urged young people to engage with the energy challenge: “You may be wondering what you can do to help,” he wrote. The billionaire philanthropist, who earlier this week was confirmed to be the world’s richest man by Forbes, argued that it should be a development priority for everyone to deliver clean energy to the 1.3 billion people who do not have access to power.

In the letter he wrote:

“I’m so optimistic about the world’s ability to make a miracle happen that I’m willing to make a prediction. Within the next 15 years—and especially if young people get involved—I expect the world will discover a clean energy breakthrough that will save our planet and power our world.”

He also stressed that the new power needs to be low carbon in order to tackle the risks presented by climate change.

“If we really want to help the world’s poorest families, we need to find a way to get them cheap, clean energy,” he wrote. “Cheap because everyone must be able to afford it. Clean because it must not emit any carbon dioxide – which is driving climate change.

“First, it’s important for everyone to get educated about this energy challenge. Many young people are already actively involved in climate and energy issues and I’m sure they could use more help. Your generation is one of the most globally minded in history, adept at looking at our world’s problems beyond national borders. This will be a valuable asset as we work on global solutions in the decades ahead.

“Second, if you’re someone with some crazy-sounding ideas to solve our energy challenge, the world needs you. Study extra-hard in your math and sciences. You might just have the answer.

“The challenge we face is big, perhaps bigger than many people imagine. But so is the opportunity. If the world can find a source of cheap, clean energy, it will do more than halt climate change. It will transform the lives of millions of the poorest families.”

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Picture Credit: OnInnovation from Flickr.

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