Bill Gates says he’s making a big bet on clean-energy technology because poor people will be the ones most affected by climate change even though it's not their fault. Gates has already invested roughly $1 billion of his personal fortune in companies that are working on clean energy, and he recently told the Financial Times he plans to spend another $1 billion in the next five years on "wild-eyed" energy tech companies.
In a blog post last week, the Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist explained why the world needs more clean-energy innovation.
"I think this issue is especially important because, of all the people who will be affected by climate change, those in poor countries will suffer the most," Gates wrote. "It would be a terrible injustice to let climate change undo any of the past half-century’s progress against poverty and disease — and doubly unfair because the people who will be hurt the most are the ones doing the least to cause the problem."
Already, Gates said, he's poured money into innovative companies that are working on new batteries, solar technology and nuclear design.
Now $1 billion may sound like a big number, but Gates said it’s a drop in the bucket compared to what governments should be spending to curb global warming. "Right now, the world spends only a few billion dollars a year on researching early-stage ideas for zero-carbon energy. It should be investing two or three times that much," he wrote.
Not that Gates — the world's richest person, according to Forbes — won't have any spending money left after his clean-energy investments. His 2015 net worth is estimated at roughly $79 billion.