How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need (2021) by Bill Gates is a well researched, well thought out and well written description of how we countries could get to net zero emissions of C02. For anyone interested in the topic who can’t, off the top of their head, say how much of Greenhouse gas emissions come from manufacturing and how much come from agriculture it’s very much worth looking at.
The book summarises very well much of what is in books such as ‘Sustainable Energy : Without the Hot Air by David Mackay’ and books by Vaclac Smil both of whom Gates references. What it also brings is that it’s an easy read that makes the major points well. It is reminiscent of Facfulness by Hans Rosling which Gates also references.
The book makes the point that getting to net zero by 2050 will be difficult and expensive. Gates doesn’t address the criticism by Bjorn Lomborg and Michael Shellenberger that expensive and difficult action on greenhouse gas emission does not have as good a cost benefit ratio as other actions that could be taken to improve the world. Nor does Gates look at recent criticisms of the use of RCP 8.5 as a baseline scenario because the emissions trajectory there is already very unlikely. However, Gates reaches some similar conclusions to Lomborg and Shellenberger, namely that the most valuable thing to do again climate change is to research solutions. Gates is also firmly pro-nuclear. He makes the point the renewables require vast energy storage that is yet to be viable. But he does encourage research in this area.
What the book does really well is to go through each large area of emissions, manufacturing, energy, transport and heating and cooling and goes into detail about what could be done for each and openly how hard and expensive this will be.
How to Avoid a Climate Disaster is very much worth a read for anyone interested in climate change.