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There are a number of contributors to global heating that many of us could likely list without much trouble. Chemical waste, vehicle pollution, single-use plastics, and deforestation are among the most well known.
However, while discussing the subject on his podcast, “Unconfuse Me,” Bill Gates suggested not many people are aware of one of the most significant contributors.
The Microsoft co-founder and now billionaire philanthropist noted that agriculture plays a huge part in terms of harmful gas pollution.
“Of all the climate areas, the one that people are probably least aware of is all the fertilizer and cows, and that’s a challenge,” Gates said, as reported by CNBC.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, agriculture, forestry, and other land use accounted for 22% of global planet-warming pollution in 2010, with most of that coming from the cultivation of crops and livestock.
A report from the University of California, Davis, said just a single cow can belch about 220 pounds of methane a year, and that’s not to mention the production of the same gas in manure, which is often used as a fertilizer.
With nearly 144 billion pounds (72 million tons) of beef and buffalo meat eaten worldwide in 2018, per The World Counts, it’s clear the need for cows is vital for the global food supply chain — and that moving away from meat would provide huge environmental benefits. The number of cows in the world is high because of demand for meat and dairy, rather than what cow populations would be without human intervention.
As CNBC noted, Gates is an investor in several plant-based food companies, and he said on his podcast that his primary reason for doing so was to come up with a climate-friendly alternative to meat.
Gates has at least some experience when it comes to farmland, too. In recent years, he has invested in American farmland, and he revealed on a Reddit “ask me anything” post, as summarized on Yahoo, that he has done so to make it more productive and to provide jobs.
And when it comes to climate science, he also knows a thing or two on that subject, writing the 2021 book, “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster.” In it, he recommends switching to electric cars and furthering research into synthetic meat, per CNBC.
There is always a lot of skepticism and scrutiny around the things billionaires invest their time and money into, but in terms of informed voices about farming and climate science, Gates has to be considered someone whose perspective is worth hearing.
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