Microsoft Co-Founder Bill Gates argued in a recent interview published with MIT Technology Review Sunday the world should prepare for a plant-based future to avert climate catastrophe. That future includes 100 percent 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,” Gates said.
For poorer countries however, Gates said, it’s not yet feasible.
“I don’t think the poorest 80 countries will be eating synthetic meat,” the billionaire tech entrepreneur concluded.
The primary obstacle to Gates’ envisioned future: politics.
“For meat in the middle-income-and-above countries, I do think it’s possible. But it’s one of those ones where, wow, you have to track it every year and see, and the politics [are challenging],” Gates complained. “There are all these bills that say it’s got to be called, basically, lab garbage to be sold. They don’t want us to use the beef label.”
Gates’ warnings come as the retired philanthropist promotes his latest book, “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster,” in which the climate activist details measures he says need to be taken to save the planet. Tackling the food industry, Gates says, is a primary target to curb emissions.
“In terms of livestock, it’s very difficult. There are all the things where they feed them different food, like there’s this compound that gives you a 20 percent reduction [in methane emissions],” Gates said. “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.”
“It’s true that my carbon footprint is absurdly high,” Gates wrote. “I own big houses and fly in private planes — in fact, I took one to Paris for the climate conference — so who am I to lecture anyone on the environment?” But Gates, continues, “the goal isn’t simply for any one person to make up his or her emissions; it’s to avoid a climate disaster.”
Gates justified his private jet travel by noting since 2020, his jets have used sustainable fuel to offset his family’s emissions.