Bill Gates says nuclear power ensures ‘reliability’ of energy supply, warns of public ‘backlash’ against carbon tax, price hikes
Bill Gates, philanthropist and billionaire Bill Gates stated that abandoning nuclear power would make it more difficult to ensure stable energy supplies. He cautioned against taking climate change decisions that could anger the public.
The Handelsblatt newspaper asked Gates whether Germany’s move to completely phase out nuclear power next year was a mistake.
According to the businessman, each country should decide for its own whether it wishes to close down reactors. “makes it harder to guarantee the security of [the energy] supply and favorable prices.”
“We must not forget: The demand for electricity will increase dramatically because we will need it not only to power our cars, but also have our homes heated and convert many factories into using it. That’s why the reliability of power supply is so crucial,” Gates said.
If we achieve a miraculous breakthrough in the cost of electricity storage, we won’t have to worry about nuclear power. But in the meantime, forms of energy not dependent on the weather – which produce electricity even when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine – will be helpful in delivering the reliability we need.
“We must not rule out any solution as long as we have carefully examined the costs and safety,”The Microsoft co-founder stated.
Gates, who is funding the research and construction of an experimental nuclear reactor in the US, criticized Germany’s plan to expand the use of gas-fired power plants. “Natural gas is not a true ‘bridge technology,’”He said that work in gas-fired plants is associated with the emission of CO2 as well as gas leaks. These risks pose dangers to the environment.
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Gates is a strong supporter of nuclear energy. He insists that new-generation reactors will be more efficient and safer than the fossil fuels. Gates made these remarks ahead of an important UN summit on climate change in Glasgow.
It will be held amid Europe’s current energy crisis. Leaders from around the world are expected to meet to discuss ways to decrease CO2 emissions, eliminate coal and increase investment in renewables.
Gates cautioned that ordinary citizens should not be forced to pay for environmental improvements. Gates cited the French Yellow Vest protests of 2018-19 and subsequent riots that were caused by a planned fuel tax increase.
“The Yellow Vest movement foreshadowed that in a way when the rise in diesel prices made people in the countryside say: ‘Why should I, as someone who relies on traveling long distances, pay more – and not a city resident, who has it better off already?’ It’s a huge challenge for policymakers to minimize climate costs and have the burden shared fairly.”
“There will be a backlash when citizens are faced with higher taxes or prices,”Gates warned.
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