(E) Bill and Melinda Gates, in their 2016 annual letter are responding to some high school students questions: “If you could have one superpower, what would it be?” While Melinda responded to “more time”, Bill responded with “more energy”: energy for everyone and energy without destructing our planet. But to achieve the second goal, we need an energy miracle:
“When I say “miracle,” I don’t mean something that’s impossible. I’ve seen miracles happen before. The personal computer. The Internet. The polio vaccine. None of them happened by chance. They are the result of research and development and the human capacity to innovate.
In this case, however, time is not on our side. Every day we are releasing more and more CO2 into our atmosphere and making our climate change problem even worse. We need a massive amount of research into thousands of new ideas—even ones that might sound a little crazy—if we want to get to zero emissions by the end of this century.
New ways to make solar and wind power available to everyone around the clock could be one solution. Some of the crazier inventions I’m excited about are a possible way to use solar energy to produce fuel, much like plants use sunlight to make food for themselves, and batteries the size of swimming pools with huge storage capacity.
Many of these ideas won’t work, but that’s okay. Each dead end will teach us something useful and keep us moving forward. As Thomas Edison famously said, “I have not failed 10,000 times. I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.”
But to find thousands of ways that won’t work, you first need to try thousands of different ideas. That’s not happening nearly enough.”
Well…we have a lot of work, to say the least! What are we waiting for to start?
Note: The picture above is Bill’s energy formula.
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