Sustayz #05

Bill coming to the rescue

You know that sustainability is a thing when the former richest man in the world gets into the game rather than chasing some space pipe dreams. Take that Jeff Bezos!

The long-awaited “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster” has barely hit the shelves, and it is already a sensation. Since the author has quite a track record, why shouldn’t it be that way?

For those who have missed the previous episodes, William Henry Gates III, also known as Bill Gates, dropped out of school and revolutionized software founding Microsoft. Then, getting to a certain age, instead of retiring, he took on philanthropy together with his wife and partner in crime Melinda. Speaking of which, there is a very cool Netflix documentary where Bill talks passionately about toilets as a way to erase from the face of the planet a bunch of virulent diseases.

Predicting COVID wasn’t enough, and Bill gets into sustainability.

“How to Avoid a Climate Disaster” is quite an ominous title but there is some glimpse of hope if we bother to listen and use technology the right way. The cure is simple: we have to cut our emissions of greenhouse gasses from its current 51 billion tons annually to zero.

Technology will play (and has to play) a major role in making clean energy affordable and more efficient. At the moment, even the most advanced solar panels convert only around a quarter of the sun’s energy. But, according to Gates, we also have to do more to capture emissions across the various industrial sectors before they are released back to the atmosphere.

However, science and technology can only do as much and have to work together with public policies, and regulations. Governments for Gates have to play a role in creating the right incentives and making sure the overall system will work for everyone.

So where does hospitality stand in all of this?

It is hard to get ahold of precise data, according to some, tourism is responsible for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, but this data refers to the period of time between 2009 and 2013, where a surge was also recorded. Optimistically we might be well above the 10% threshold, also because this data doesn’t include aviation.

Not taking action is not an option, and while Bill Gates doesn’t explicitly talk about hospitality, utilising clean energy is surely the way to go.


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