Bill Gates says rich countries should only eat synthetic meat in order to tackle climate change.
This week, Microsoft’s founder has published a new book called ‘How To Avoid A Climate Disaster’. It offers guidance on how to reduce global heating caused by greenhouse emissions, with a particular focus on how we can use tech solutions. One of the changes we can make, according to the billionaire, is switching from beef to protein.
In an interview with MIT Technology Review, he said: “I don’t think the poorest 80 countries will be eating synthetic beef. I do think all rich countries should move to 100 per cent synthetic beef. They’re going to make it taste even better over time.”
The philanthropist says the switch is definitely a possibility when it comes to middle-income and wealthy nations. However, he admitted it would be politically challenging.
He said: “There are all these bills that say it’s got to be called, basically, lab garbage to be sold. They don’t want us to use the beef label.”
When it comes to poorer countries, the tech mogul said there would be different obstacles to overcome.
“We’ll have to use animal genetics to dramatically raise the amount of beef per emissions for them,” the tech mogul explained.
With around 1.4 billion cattle on the planet, it makes up the second-largest source of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. Second up comes food waste.
Cow farts – and not forgetting cow belches – are releasing methane. Within the first two decades of its release, it’s 84 per cent more potent than carbon dioxide, according to the Environmental Defense Fund.
Cattle make up around 40 per cent of the annual global methane budget, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.
Gates believes that while certain innovations will help reduce the cows producing less methane, it’s not a significant enough amount.
He told the college publication: “I’m afraid the synthetic [protein alternatives like plant-based burgers] will be required for at least the beef thing.”
The billionaire has personally invested in a start-up called Memphis Meats. The company is developing lab-grown meats and is backing Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods.
Despite his concerns that there’s a long way to go, Gates says he’s more optimistic about the revolutionizing the agricultural sector than five years ago.
Featured Image Credit: Twitter/@billgates & Pexel