Book Review: How to Avoid a Climate Disaster

Full disclosure. I have been a casual observer of climate change for the past decade. It’s hard not to notice that the planet has gotten warmer. More weird weather. A higher number of electric cars on the road. I see more solar panels on roofs and more wind turbines in remote areas.

I have even been trying to do my part. Recycling paper. Turning the thermostat up at night. Driving more fuel-efficient cars.

But until reading Bill Gates’ new book this month, How To Avoid A Climate Disaster, I have not been as aware of the problem we face as a planet with climate change nor the solutions we will need to avoid a huge worldwide disaster.

Bill Gates spent a decade investigating the causes and effects of climate change. In the book, he explains why we need to work towards net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases and what we need to do to achieve this profoundly important goal.

How does Climate Change impact small businesses? Several ways:

  • Global economy. A 2.5 degree increase in average global temperatures is expected to cause a 15% drop in global GDP. That’s a $9 trillion loss putting 1.2 billion jobs at risk.
  • Employee productivity. You and your employees will get sick and injured more often, leading to fewer hours worked and higher healthcare costs.
  • Loss of business. As sea levels rise and ocean temperatures increase, hurricanes and floods will become worse and more frequent. Such natural disasters translate to fewer small businesses.
  • Cost of regulation and insurance. As the effects of climate change continue to emerge, our governments and insurers will pass the cost of mitigation onto small businesses. The cost of government regulation is already high for small businesses and will only continue to escalate in the future.

What can your small business do?

  • Establish and implement clean-energy targets. Pledge to increase the use of renewable materials in the operation of your business.
  • Use less energy by installing energy-efficient lighting.
  • Shut down non-essential office equipment at the end of the day.
  • Take advantage of videoconferencing to reduce company travel.
  • Lobby your city, state, and federal government to act on climate change.

I enjoyed reading Bill Gates’ new book and look forward to becoming less of the problem and more of the answer as we address the challenge of Climate Change in the future. I encourage all small business leaders to do the same. It Matters!