Microsoft founder Bill Gates took on climate change during his TED speech Friday. He told those gathered at the conference that "What we're going to have to do at a global scale is create a new system... So we need energy miracles."
To cut CO2 emissions to zero and stop climate change -- a problem that he said is bigger than creating new vaccines -- Gates urged researchers to find clean sources of energy. CNN reports:
Gates said the deadline for the world to cut all of its carbon emissions is 2050. He suggested that researchers spend the next 20 years inventing and perfecting clean-energy technologies, and then the next 20 years implementing them.
The world's energy portfolio should not include coal or natural gas, he said, and must include carbon capture and storage technology as well as nuclear, wind and both solar photovoltaics and solar thermal power.
According to CNN, Gates spent a large portion of his speech endorsing technology that could turn spent uranium fuel rods into clean energy. Gates told the audience that the technology could power the world indefinitely, and that the U.S. could be powered for 100 years using the spent fuel rods already in its possession.
Gates told the audience that climate change will cause poverty and famine that will disproportionately affect the world's poorest people.
Australia's Gizmodo reports that Gates used a jar of fireflies as an onstage prop to talk about clean energy. At his TED speech in 2009, Gates unleashed mosquitoes on his audience.