Innovating to zero! Bill Gates on TED.com

Posted by: Emily McManus

At TED2010, Bill Gates unveils his vision for the world’s energy future, describing the need for “miracles” to avoid planetary catastrophe and explaining why he’s backing a dramatically different type of nuclear reactor. The necessary goal? Zero carbon emissions globally by 2050. (Recorded at TED2010, February 2010 in Long Beach, CA. Duration: 27:49)

Watch Bill Gates’ talk from TED2010 on TED.com, where you can download this TEDTalk, rate it, comment on it and find other talks and performances from our archive of 600+ TEDTalks.

Comments (36)

  • Charles Rauch commented on Mar 1 2010

    My first time actually hearing Bill Gates myself. Impressive man! If I were him, I would be spending the rest of my days on beach somewhere sipping Myties:) Hats off to him for his continued efforts!!

  • Jim Bullis commented on Feb 28 2010

    Prof. MacKay’s book, “Without Hot Air” turns out to be about 70% hot air due to his acceptance of false physics regarding electrical energy and heat energy.

    On page 27 of that book he makes his entire book a “twaddle” (his word) when he says,
    “I think the timeless and scienti?c way to summarize and compare energies is to hold 1 kWh
    of chemical energy equivalent to 1 kWh of electricity. My choice to use this one-to-one conversion rate means that some of my sums will look a bit different from other people’s.

    His book is very useful in most respects, but this is a fundamental flaw that makes electric cars look two to three times better than they are. Thus, his chart linked below is complete gibberish. Many of his other conclusions are likewise wrong.


    The fundamental problem is that he would have us believe that the wasted heat of the power plant is not a consequence of electric cars.

  • Matias Alonso commented on Feb 24 2010

    The problem with nuclear, coal, oil etc. is that you are braking the earth energy balance that comes from the Sun and adding new energy to the atmosphere, thus increasing temperature.
    That´s why Solar and Wind are such good energies.

  • Balaji G commented on Feb 23 2010

    Bill Gates, a Brilliant personality in the software industry sighted the problems of the disaster made by the humans and also created a perfect solution for reducing the effect of that defects(disaster).

  • Mark Martinez commented on Feb 19 2010

    All of the technology needed to save our planet is within us. The key to tapping into it is lowering our conscious awareness from our minds to our hearts.


  • Mohammad Himayathullah commented on Feb 19 2010

    Nuclear is never going to shed it the taboo tag as long as we have politics. While the untapped energy potential locked up in the spent U238 is waiting to be tapped, no government anywhere would allow the kind of freewheeling entrepreneurship that Mr. Gates wants for the project to get going. Not to mention the environmental activists who hate all things nuclear for its inherent contamination potential. While one cannot please everybody, fast breeding reactors using U238 are definitely the way to go, as the energy potential is too good and too enticing to say the least.

  • Godwin Prince commented on Feb 19 2010

    this is really amazing to hear bill gates talks in TED.
    i thought bill gates was a money minded person alone but this video show me that he is also a social minded person! i was surprised to see such a person very close to me thanks to TED.
    if this is seen by all the people of the world.
    i am sure that this will make a dynamic change in their mind,and
    i am sure that the word pollution will thrown away from dictionary!
    regarding nonrenewable energy & energy source you did a amazing analysis
    this is my first & the best talk i ever heard.
    once again thanks to ted!!!

  • sudha geetha commented on Feb 19 2010

    I really happy to see Bill Gates very near to me. And i enjoy to hear Bill Gates speech.I understood that the nuclear reaction, power station are one of the reason to produce CO2.

  • Banu priya commented on Feb 19 2010

    I feel happy to hear this speech. This was the first time I am hearing Bill Gates speech. It was interesting and useful. I get more information from this speech.

  • arul kumar commented on Feb 19 2010

    I thought that bill gates was only a business man in the world,but he proved his knowledge in other fields.I really enjoy this speech.

  • ida shine commented on Feb 19 2010

    This was the first time iam hearing Billgates speech.It was very informative to me and his talks on nuclear power plants was interesting. His speech was one of the gift for me.

  • gomathi 1logu commented on Feb 19 2010

    the spending of time is very usefull.but i thought that the personalities speeches like bill gates is first to reach the students.if he convey his ideas to students means it is more effective than the elder ones .the science is growing and they understand more because they have been studying more obout global warming and all.

  • gayathri subramani commented on Feb 19 2010

    I really enjoy that speech.In this speech i can understand don’t live luxuries life. there are lots of poor people don’t have home.so we must follow to help these kind of people.

  • dharani dharan commented on Feb 19 2010

    Bill Gates,the hurricane of the software industry,shows his interest towards a better world (near future)that would not comprise of humans only but some of the other living organisms. He explains the danger we(all living organisms) going to encounter in the near future. He worries about the increase of co2 emission year by year. He explains that although humans have made many miracles , they have now brought the world to its death bed. He sets 2050 as the target year to develop a zero carbon emission year. But i doubt that our earth will be there in 2050. we have to join our hands to save the world. this is not only my desire but i stand for the endangered species and beg the humans to save the earth.

  • hemalatha kannan commented on Feb 19 2010

    Yes, the speech bill gates gave was very interesting and he initiate the human beings to be aware of the future.his aim of achieving the pollution free nature is a very good thing.As you gave lot of admirable things about the ways of making humans initiative.you will introduce one thing of flies with plant and as it was the new things for us to know .Talks about the various source of energy and various influencing climatic factors make us to think that we the human beings are the major responsible for us to thought.Really your dream comes true on the year you have mentioned on that.But now also the humans cannot understood the situation of having their things on their hand.After your speech it may have a chance of knowing things.I really appreciate for your wish.

  • diya gopal commented on Feb 19 2010

    Thank you.You gave a lot of admiring things in the way of human beings intitative.I enjoyed.

  • Alok John commented on Feb 19 2010

    This post is really good.i enjoyed
    i still dont understand why humans being one of the most intelligent species on earth cant understand ,what impacts they will be bringing by using all these non renewable source of energy ,why there are still deforestation,Why being in a era of modernization and hitech machines we still lack to take a impressive step to make our ecosystem much better.
    i some time really think are we really parasite who just move from one place to another finish the resources there and move to next place.
    We have to take major step and people like bill gates and warren buffet (men’s with money and wisdom ) can initiate and invest in it and i really appreciate it.

  • Neha Sen commented on Feb 19 2010

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  • Jon Ross commented on Feb 18 2010

    I actually admire Bill Gates, but I think human beings are still way too fascinated with “burning things”, calling it generating energy. It’s rather primitive (caveman-ish). There is an enormous explosion occurring 8-light minutes away, that will continue for the next 5-billion years and relative to our needs, we’ve not tapped it at all. The best idea I’ve ever heard is from the late Buckminster Fuller (it calls for building a global superconductive energy grid connecting and pooling all renewable energy sources on the planet). In order for that to happen all nations would have to cooperate and terrorism will have to be eradicated. Extreme utopian thinking isn’t it?

    • billy gee commented on Aug 16 2010

      Jon. With all do respect, a great idea has to involve some sort of practicality. Fuller’s idea sounds nice but is it even remotely possible? “All nations would have to cooperate and terrorism would have to be eradicated”? Usually “best idea” and “utopian thinking” don’t match. What is possible? That is what we should ask and that is what Bill is exploring…the possibilities, not the fantasies.

  • john cook commented on Feb 18 2010

    Great talk, but the embed code is not working.

    • Emily McManus commented on Feb 18 2010

      Hi John — thanks for the heads-up! Code works now – you may need to refresh your browser.