“There’s not a single year where we’ve put out less, even when we had the economic recession, because China and India are moving ahead.”
… Gates spoke on his aim for a zero-carbon future at The Wall Street Journal’s ECO:nomics Creating Environmental Capital conference, where energy company leaders, entrepreneurs and environmental groups share ideas.
You will never reach absolute zero carbon, Gates said, “but if you want there not to be increased warming every year, you have to get to extremely low numbers.”
Alan Murray, The Wall Street Journal’s deputy managing editor and online executive editor, asked Gates his views on when fossil fuels might fill less than half of the world’s energy needs, compared to the 80 percent they make up today.
In an earlier session at the conference, Daniel Yergin, chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, said he thought that point might come by 2050. Vinod Khosla, managing partner at Khosla Ventures, said it could occur within 25 years, although he added, “I’m definitely more optimistic.”
Gates said both those time frames were unrealistic and that it would be longer. Looking just at the electrification sector, Gates said, there is too much carbon-emitting infrastructure that will be around for decades. Power plants built over the next two decades will have a minimum 30-year life span, he said.
“The notion that that sector will be 50 percent non-hydrocarbon in 50 years, it’s not possible,” Gates said… [Emphasis added]