Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Bill Gates Says Wealthier Countries Should Switch to Plant-Based Beef

Climate
Bill Gates Says Wealthier Countries Should Switch to Plant-Based Beef
A Beyond Meat burger. Mairo Cinquetti / NurPhoto via Getty Images

Bill Gates is out with a new book on how to solve the climate crisis. How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: the Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need follows his general history of emphasizing technological innovation over policy changes. But, in an interview promoting the new book, he did propose one dramatic behavioral change: People living in wealthier countries should switch to plant-based meat alternatives.


"I do think all rich countries should move to 100% synthetic beef," Gates told the MIT Technology Review Sunday. "You can get used to the taste difference, and the claim is they're going to make it taste even better over time."

In the interview, Gates gave shoutouts to Beyond and Impossible, two companies that have made headlines with their plant-based burger alternatives in recent years. (He is, in fact, an investor in both, the article noted.) While these meat alternatives currently represent less than 1 percent of the meat in the world, they have quality and cost roadmaps that make them competitive, he said.

On the other hand, he did not think that lab-grown alternatives like Memphis Meats, in which he also invests, were likely to be economically viable on a wide scale.

In the interview, Gates did not think that poorer nations would have to give up beef. In Africa, he said, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation focuses on lowering the emissions per cow using genetics.

"Weirdly, the US livestock, because they're so productive, the emissions per pound of beef are dramatically less than emissions per pound in Africa. And as part of the [Bill and Melinda Gates] Foundation's work, we're taking the benefit of the African livestock, which means they can survive in heat, and crossing in the monstrous productivity both on the meat side and the milk side of the elite US beef lines," he said.

His ideas may be a hard sell, however. The claim that the Green New Deal would force U.S. residents to give up hamburgers has been a major right-wing talking point, as TIME noted in 2019.

However, Gates thought a shift to plant-based meat was possible over time.

"Eventually, that green premium is modest enough that you can sort of change the [behavior of] people or use regulation to totally shift the demand," he said in the interview.

Food & Living Vegan opined that his argument made sense from a climate perspective.

"Oxfam revealed that the richest 1% is responsible for double the carbon emissions as the poorest 50%, therefore even if it is just wealthy nations switching to lab-grown or synthetic meat, this will have a huge impact," the magazine wrote.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivers a video speech at the high-level meeting of the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council UNHRC in Geneva, Switzerland on Feb. 22, 2021. Xinhua / Zhang Cheng via Getty Images

By Anke Rasper

"Today's interim report from the UNFCCC is a red alert for our planet," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The report, released Friday, looks at the national climate efforts of 75 states that have already submitted their updated "nationally determined contributions," or NDCs. The countries included in the report are responsible for about 30% of the world's global greenhouse gas emissions.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

New Delhi's smog is particularly thick, increasing the risk of vehicle accidents. SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP via Getty Images

India's New Delhi has been called the "world air pollution capital" for its high concentrations of particulate matter that make it harder for its residents to breathe and see. But one thing has puzzled scientists, according to The Guardian. Why does New Delhi see more blinding smogs than other polluted Asian cities, such as Beijing?

Read More Show Less

Trending

A bridge over the Delaware river connects New Hope, Pennsylvania with Lambertville, New Jersey. Richard T. Nowitz / Getty Images

In a historic move, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted Thursday to ban hydraulic fracking in the region. The ban was supported by all four basin states — New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York — putting a permanent end to hydraulic fracking for natural gas along the 13,539-square-mile basin, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Read More Show Less
A 3-hour special film by EarthxTV calls for protection of the Amazon and its indigenous populations. EarthxTV.org

To save the planet, we must save the Amazon rainforest. To save the rainforest, we must save its indigenous peoples. And to do that, we must demarcate their land.

Read More Show Less
A rare bird not seen for 170 years has turned up in Borneo's South Kalimantan province in Indonesia. robas / Getty Images

In October 2020, two men living in Indonesia's South Kalimantan province on Borneo managed to catch a bird that they had never seen before. They photographed and released it, then sent the pictures to birdwatching organizations in the area for identification.

Read More Show Less