We need to get to zero

Every year, the world adds approximately 51 billion tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, trapping heat and driving up global temperatures. The only way to avoid the worst impacts of climate change is to stop adding greenhouse gases by 2050.

We need an unprecedented technological transformation that gets us from the greenhouse gas-producing tools we currently rely on to a new set of innovations powerful enough to give everyone in the world access to clean, reliable, and affordable energy.

We need to act right away

The choices we make today will determine the kind of world our children and grandchildren inherit.

Getting to zero might be the most difficult challenge humankind has ever taken on. That’s because nearly everything we do in our daily lives contributes to greenhouse gas emissions – from how we plug in to how we grow things, from how we make things to how we get around and how we stay cool and warm.

But we can avoid a climate disaster if we act now and act with purpose to launch the most ambitious innovation program the world has ever seen.

At Breakthrough Energy

We are helping the world get to net-zero emissions while making sure everyone, everywhere has access to the affordable, reliable energy they need to thrive.

Getting to Zero

Getting to net-zero will be an enormous challenge. It means transforming virtually every activity in modern life and every major sector of the economy: electricity, agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, and buildings. Yet we’re optimistic that the world can rise to this challenge.

Getting to Zero Requires

Climate change can seem like a problem that’s either too far down the road or too big to solve. But we know the main sources of the majority of today’s global greenhouse gas emissions: manufacturing (31 percent), electricity (27 percent), agriculture (19 percent), transportation (16 percent), and buildings (7 percent). We call these the Five Grand Challenges of climate change. To get to zero, we will have to tackle all five.

The Five Grand Challenges

To help us understand where we need to innovate first, we use a calculation we call the Green Premium. The Green Premium is the additional cost that comes with choosing a clean technology over one that emits a greater amount of greenhouse gases.

Many existing energy options have a built-in advantage of being less expensive than newer green ones. That’s because their price does not factor in the environmental damage they cause around the world. Our goal is to reduce the Green Premium through programs, investments, and policies that help bring down the costs of clean technologies, so consumers and industries will use them. 

The Green Premium

We need to change the way we live across nearly every sector of the economy. But there’s no magic bullet. No single person, policy, or technology can do it alone. That’s why we’re bringing together a broad and diverse set of stakeholders - including governments, the research and scientific communities, investors, and citizens across the globe to support the groundbreaking innovations and smart policies that can get us to zero.

Scaling Innovation

There is a solution

We already have some of the tools we need to reduce greenhouse gases across all Five Grand Challenges. And we have the commitment and scientific IQ we need to develop the rest.

Make no mistake. The challenge ahead of us is enormous – and it’s extremely complicated. But we know our strategy. Focusing on innovators and partnerships is the right way forward.
Bill Gates Founder, Breakthrough Energy

The Breakthrough Energy Roadmap

At Breakthrough Energy, our mission is to help lead the world to net-zero emissions by 2050 by supporting cutting-edge research and development, investing in companies that turn green ideas into clean products and tools, and advocating for policies that speed innovation from lab to market. 

We bring people together to create a world powered by clean energy.

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