Billionaire Bill Gates has made the bold claim that “all rich countries should move to 100% plant-based beef” to mitigate climate change.
The tech mogul has praised mock meat companies including Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, noting they have a “quality road map and cost road map, that makes them totally competitive.”
While mock meat companies make up less than 1% of the meat industry, the market is growing exponentially, predicted to double in the next five years to be worth $8.3 billion.
What about poorer nations?
It is important to note that Gates only encourages rich nations to make the switch, as it is much more difficult in poorer countries.
Gates explained, “For Africa and other poor countries, we’ll have to use animal genetics to dramatically raise the amount of beef per emissions for them.
“I don’t think the poorest 80 countries will be eating synthetic meat. I do think all rich countries should move to 100% synthetic beef. You can get used to the taste difference, and the claim is they’re going to make it taste even better over time…
“So for meat in the middle-income-and-above countries, I do think it’s possible. But, it’s one of those where you have to track it every year and see, and the politics [are challenging].”
The reality is that while it is easy for wealthy nations to make the switch, the poorest section of the globe relies on livestock for essential industries. Lab cultured meat is not something that will be appearing in poor countries any time soon, if ever.
However, 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.
How to Avoid a Climate Disaster
Gates comments were part of a discussion about his new book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need which is on sale now.
Writing on his blog, Gates said:
“I hope to explain the science in a clear and compelling way. I’ll also propose a plan for what we need to do over the next decade and beyond to build the tools that will help us eliminate greenhouse gas emissions while scaling up the powerful solutions we already have…
“I hope you’ll check out the book, but much more important, I hope you’ll do what you can to help us keep the planet livable for generations to come.”
We hope that world leaders and other entrepreneurs take on his advice, however, we can’t help but think the billionaire could be doing more. And certainly not flying around in a private jet…
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