Since the year 2000, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have been working to change the world. The largest private foundation in the world, it focuses on challenges that can be tackled on a global level, working with as many external partners as is needed and then scale it down to solutions of a local level. This is actually a really effective method, as it allows more people to be helped in the same amount of time, for the same amount of resources, than if tackling individual challenges by region.
In 2009 Bill and Melinda released an open letter, which would be the first and would continue to be released annually. From curing AIDS and polio, the foundation has made a statement in tackling issues which have crippled generations globally, but in the latest open letter we were excited to see the foundations focus turn to energy.
This was all sparked by a question from High School students. “If you could have one superpower, what would it be?” In what some would say was a surprising answer, he answered “To ensure global access to cheap, clean energy.” The letter itself is really eye opening, and it certainly made us stop and think. Did you know more than one billion people today live without access to energy at all? Our sole purpose is to challenge our customers to think about how they use the energy they have access to, and there are many people across the globe with no electricity to light and heat their homes and live without power to their local hospitals or factories.
The truth is that clean energy needs to be the future. We’ve heard for so long about holes in the ozone layer and the dramatic and significant effects of climate change. The expensive way we generate energy today, and our disregard for saving energy has continued to contribute to these global issues and time is running out to fix it. We read in the open letter that “the world emitted 36 billion tons of carbon dioxide to produced energy.” On the back of this, scientists have said that to avoid the long-term changes to the climate the entire world must work together to cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80 percent by 2050, and eliminate them entirely by the turn of the century.
This new open letter has clearly come at a vital time. It gives all nations, rich and poor, hope that a cleaner and cheaper source of energy might become available and the Foundation, working with external partners across the globe, can give access to the funding required to make this breakthrough and finally develop a climate-saving energy solution. Finally, it has sent a strong message to energy companies across the globe.
Energy UK have been one of the first to respond. Last week the largest energy lobbying group which represents the biggest supplies of energy in the UK changed its stance on the defence of fossil fuel and has said that it now supports phasing out coal-fired stations. Although this was not a direct response to the letter and is perhaps more as a result of seeing phase-out models of other countries such as Germany, we can’t help but notice the convenience of timing. We certainly wont judge or comment, and welcome all changes to the way we create and use energy in this country.