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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

The Bill Gates Interview. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired February 20, 2021 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[21:01:00]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Welcome to tonight's in-depth interview with Bill Gates.

Bill Gates saw the coronavirus pandemic coming, or a pandemic like it, and tried to warn the world. It's fair to say not enough people listened. Maybe they will about what he sees as the greatest threat facing all of us today.

In a new book, he details why we've never seen a challenge like this, climate change. His book, "How to Avoid a Climate Disaster." That's what we wanted to talk to him about. He says it won't be easy. In fact, it will take global cooperation on a scale we have never seen before. But in Gates' estimation, it is doable.

We talked about it in our fascinating and wide-ranging interview. Let's begin.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: I want to start with what's going on in Texas. You know, we're watching the authorities dealing with just how unprepared they were for this extreme weather event, and we're seeing the very real human consequences, the suffering going on because of it.

What's your takeaway from what's happening?

BILL GATES, AUTHOR, "HOW TO AVOID A CLIMATE DISASTER": Well, specifically Texas was not ready for these cold temperatures. You know, they had a nuclear plant go down because the -- it affected the sensors.

They've had natural gas plants that have had freezing problems, and a little bit the wind. But it's not inherent that those things aren't weatherized. You know, wind is used in North Dakota. Natural gas plants run in Alaska. And so it's just -- they -- this is so unexpected in terms of extreme weather events.

The general point that, as we move to weather dependent sources, wind and solar, that we have to be very careful about reliability, that we will need to build more transmission and have some sources that are -- that's the general point actually is true. But this specific is in no way an illustration of that.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, the Republican Governor Abbott scapegoated initially frozen wind turbines particularly, and the green new deal in general, when in reality, I mean, is that -- is that to blame?

GATES: In this specific case, no. You could imagine, you know, 20 years from now when the renewable percentage gets very, very high, that you could have reliability issues. But that doesn't explain any of what's going on here. This is not because of renewable dependency.

This is natural gas plants largely that weren't weatherized. They could have been. It costs money. And the tradeoff was made and it didn't work out, and it's tragic that it's leading to people dying.

COOPER: You've talked about this a lot about wind and solar, which you are a big believer in. You think as much as 80 percent of our future energy needs can be handled by wind and solar. At least in this country. But that 20 percent will need to be most likely nuclear, unless there's some big innovation in energy storage.

Can you explain why that is? Because, I mean, this seems to be an example of where nuclear, although in Texas there were problems with it freezing up or breaking down, in general is more reliable and easier to send over long -- it's easier to store and easier to send over long distances than wind and solar.

GATES: Yes. So there's indoor energy generation that is not weather dependent. And that's burning coal, burning natural gas, nuclear. You've got to make sure all the sensors and the way you connect up to the grid that you don't have any pipelines that can freeze or sensors that get messed up. But it's easy to be completely weather independent for those sources.

[21:05:02]

Whereas anything that's outdoors, like wind or solar, if you have a big cold front, both of those shut down. And the best wind in the United States is in the center of the country. And sadly, these kind of cold fronts like Texas is experiencing right now, do come into their own state for periods of time. And that means the potential wind generation is greatly reduced. And so then you've got to ramp up the nuclear or draw from storage.

Right now, these natural gas peaker plants are in place to deal with that, but because they're carbon emitting, we don't want to have to depend on those for the, you know, decarbonized grid that the U.S. is moving towards.

COOPER: I want to get more into some of the climate details in a second. I do want to talk about a little bit about COVID. And in your book, "How to Avoid a Climate Disaster," you use COVID as a mechanism to kind of help people understand how serious climate change is, that by mid-century, it could just as deadly as COVID, and by 2100 five times as deadly.

What lessons do you think we can learn from COVID that would be applicable to dealing successfully with climate change?

GATES: Well, the pandemic is a great example where we count on the government to have expertise and to prepare us even for unlikely events. You know, certainly because we have earthquakes, the government has building codes to minimize the damage and the deaths. You know, they've got FEMA that can step in there.

For the pandemic, despite myself and others, as far back as 2015 highlight this is a huge problem that we weren't at all ready for, the right steps were not taken and then even as the pandemic came upon us, some of that CDC expertise wasn't used.

So we'll be looking back at what we should have done differently and I think this time, because of the trillions in dollars of cost and, you know, huge human misery that doesn't even get into that economic figure, that we will make those investments and that, you know, that will be great.

Climate is very similar, except sadly the climate, once you get into the problem, the coral reefs dying off, the arctic ice being gone, you can't reverse those things just by inventing one thing. With the pandemic, thank goodness, the pharmaceutical industry, Pfizer on its own, the others with some U.S. help, did come up with a vaccine that now we can see, you know, the end is in sight, even with the variants slowing things down.

With climate, it won't just be one breakthrough like that. And if you let it start to happen, the instability, the die-off levels will be way beyond the problems that we've had here with the pandemic.

COOPER: The -- where do you think we are in this pandemic? I interviewed President Biden just the other day. He was saying he thinks by end of July, there'll be enough vaccines available for anybody who wants one.

Doesn't necessarily mean it'll be in people's arms by then, but they'll be out there, they'll be available. And by December of next year, you know, we'll be back to normal, though I talked to Fauci after that, who, you know, sort of said it depends on how you define normal.

How -- where do you see it? When do you think normal, you know, a semblance of normal returns and do you think that end of July figure for the vaccines is right?

GATES: Yes, so the supply side on the vaccines is a very positive picture because not only do we have Pfizer and Moderna upping their capacity, we have also Johnson & Johnson and Novavax that have proven to be very effective are coming along and there will be U.S. factories. So that will join in, meeting that U.S. demand. So having the supply side in great shape by July, I think that's very likely.

The logistics that have been limiting, you know, that vary state by state, but I think the lessons of the state who did it well, you know, if we had to do it all over again, you know, the CDC should have had the clear Web site to organize things. But it's too late to start that over.

So the logistics, you know, could push things out a month or two. You know, the variants may mean that even people like myself who are lucky enough to have been vaccinated, we may get a booster dose that's adapted to those, so there'll be some logistics around that.

[21:10:05]

But the true limiting factor may be the demand, you know, how many people are open minded as they see that the -- there's very, very little in the way of side effects in that you're projecting your fellow citizens. You know, I've seen some numbers on this for various groups like the military or people of color that had me worried that we won't get up to a herd immunity level and that we need to communicate and create that trust.

COOPER: You know, I was in Milwaukee doing this town hall with the president. I was looking at the figures in Milwaukee, and this is just off the top of my head, but I think among white residents in Milwaukee, about 9 some point something percent had been vaccinated. Among black residents, I think it was around 3.3 percent, which is startling that -- you know, that difference.

GATES: Yes. I mean, it should be the opposite because we've seen for a variety of factors that we don't fully understand that blacks are more susceptible to getting infected and even to die. And so we should be going after the people of color and building up their trust and acceptance and ease of accessing the vaccine in a very special way.

So here we've fallen short again. But, you know, I think some special actions need to be put into place in terms of speaking, somebody, you know, who has the trust of those communities talking about why they took the vaccine and why it's helpful to the entire community.

COOPER: A year from now, would you go sit, have dinner outside at a restaurant or inside in a restaurant in Seattle? Would you still be wearing a mask? Would you shake hands with people a year from now?

(LAUGHTER)

GATES: You know, I'll follow whatever the conventions are. If you're not around someone who is unvaccinated and at high risk, you know, either because they're older, with medical conditions, and getting the disease, we will be able to back off on some of these practices.

If you're out with strangers and one of them may be an older person who's not vaccinated, you should wear a mask and you should distance, because there's still going to be a risk that even when you're vaccinated, that you can transmit to that other person.

COOPER: Do you think you would go back to shaking hands? I mean, ever? Is that -- or is that just one of those things that in the future we're always going to be carrying masks around? We're not going to have this sort of -- you know, that this will always be out there?

GATES: Well, it's interesting. You know, flu is at a record low because of the things we've done to reduce coronavirus spread. And flu on an average year, you know, is still killing 60,000 people despite having a vaccine and some prior immunity. And so whether people now say gosh, it wasn't that valuable to shake hands, you know, so let's give that up. You know, I'll follow the social convention. I won't be an outlier.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: If everyone is shaking hands, you'll shake hands, OK. I get it. OK.

GATES: Just to show my -- you know, I always think about technological innovation before other things. You know, I'm hoping we can come up in the next decade with a vaccine that is universal to all coronaviruses, not just this one. And likewise, a vaccine that's universal to all flus, because there are negative effects even from the coronavirus colds that people get. And the flu, we know that particularly in pregnant women, you know, I mentioned the 60,000 deaths.

And so I hope the medical community gets super ambitious on diagnostics, drugs and vaccines to particularly get rid of a lot of respiratory disease because it's got a yearly burden, as well as the pandemic risk.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:17:26]

COOPER: With America's return to the Paris agreement there's renewed public attention on climate. The question is, what exactly to do about it? As you might imagine, Bill Gates has a lot to say in the subject on overcoming obstacles to progress.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Let's focus on climate change. The climate disaster, which you say is looming and the world scientists agree with you. It was fascinating -- it was really, I mean, educational for me reading your book and -- because it sort of put it in a perspective that I hadn't really thought about, and they're also was oddly hopeful, even though the problem itself seems to me overwhelming at times.

Just big picture, what you are calling for is a massive change to everything in I think what you described as the physical economy. You know, right now people are watching this at home, with a plastic on their television, the steel in their -- that built their building, the concrete that's in their building, how that's manufactured has to change.

How the food they're eating is grown, the fertilizers used. Because all of it is releasing carbon dioxide and other chemicals that contribute to our greenhouse gases and those all have to be eliminated or get to zero in net emissions by 2050.

GATES: Yes. The more people learn about this problem the more daunting it is because the -- there are a lot of sources of emissions, and the one that people are the least aware of are those industrial manufacturing sources, like plastic, paper, steel, cement, and in a way, we've kind of ignored those. We've had these near-term goals for reductions, and so naturally if that's your priority, you go for the areas of emissions that are the easiest to get rid of.

And those are the emissions from passenger cars, where you switch to electric cars, and the emissions from electricity generation where you switch from coal and natural gas to wind and solar. And so that's all these reductions people talk about are in those easier areas. Things like planes where the energy density at the aviation fuel can't be matched by batteries or those manufacturing areas.

Those are more difficult. So, you know, we need to increase the amount of basic research and development we do on materials to find more unique approaches, and then fund, you know, super innovative companies, even when they're very high risk and then help them scale up with market demand.

[21:20:14]

So, you know, as I studied the problem, I learned more about how important it is to the entire world. But also about how much we have to change. And you know, 30 years is not very long. So this -- the commitment required to pull it off is going to be very challenging. And we're going to need, you know, the advocates to never drop their almost, you know, furious push to get us to keep this a priority.

COOPER: I mean, you liken it to, you know, preparations for a world war, except even -- it seems like bigger than that because it's global cooperation. It's, you know, massive innovations, scientific breakthroughs that some of which we, you know, are still in infant stages of even getting close to possibly being able to achieve. I mean, it's something that you say the world has never seen before, the kind of massive, cooperative effort that's needed.

GATES: That's right. The world -- you know, we're richer today than ever. We're more aware of the problems. We have more scientists on a global basis. We have the example of the solar, wind, and the electrified passenger cars that point to, if you do the right things, you can take a sector and over time, get the green product to be as productive without even subsidies as the polluting version of that product.

But, you know, we have to act in parallel across all these different areas, and, you know, if the damage was small, you know, giving up our beaches and forests and natural ecosystems, and, you know, not being able to work outdoors in the southern parts of the country, if those, you know, weren't just awful things, then it wouldn't be worth the trouble to try and accelerate this invention and this transition.

But because so much is at stake and you don't get to go back, you know, and fix it once the problem is there very easily, you know, we need to get -- you know, we need to get going on this. But I do think -- I think it's very possible, you know, the innovations I've seen in computing, you know, stunned people. And that's what we need here.

COOPER: Again, it's so overwhelming. So just break it down kind of piece by piece. If you look at a pie of what is causing all the greenhouse gases, we all think as you've said about electric -- you know, cars, gas guzzling cars and electric vehicles being the future solution for that and the progress for it right now. But that is only a small slice. Manufacturing, how big of the -- what percentage of greenhouse gases are caused by each of these pies?

GATES: So what we see here is that the two sectors people know the best, electricity and transportation, those are both big, 27 percent for electricity and 16 percent for transportation. The two that are the least known I'd say are manufacturing which is the biggest up there at 31 percent. And then --

COOPER: And that's the concrete, steel, everything involved in manufacturing.

GATES: Exactly. Yes, plastic, paper, although cement and steel are a big piece of that. Then agriculture is another one that I think the awareness is fairly low. That's, you know, cows are a significant part of that. The way we make fertilizer is significant.

Deforestation which is outside the United States, in places like Brazil and Indonesia. That's kind of a tragic element of that, as well. And then, you know, the fifth is the heating and cooling buildings, where we'll switch to use electricity just like with passenger cars.

And then we have to make all the electricity green while we substantially grow that electric capacity because the energy has to come from somewhere. And so converting parts of manufacturing, parts of transportation, virtually all heating and cooling to use electricity is part of the grand solution.

[21:25:03]

COOPER: So we talked a little bit about nuclear. You believe that ultimately while wind and solar can account for maybe as much as 80 percent of power needs in the United States, nuclear is going to have to fill the gap. There's a reliability and a transmission issue that makes it, you know, important and attractive.

You have a company, TerraPower, that you've invested in which is completely remaking and remade a prototype for a nuclear power plant, which, you know, I'd like to hear from because there is huge skepticism and fear out there, which is justifiable based on what we have seen, you know, in Fukushima and Chernobyl, and Three Mile Island.

How do you tell people -- how do you convince people that this can actually -- nuclear power is not only essential but it can be done safely?

GATES: Yes, so nuclear, when it was first invented in the '50s, people hadn't thought about the radioactive waste and the incredible danger if that gets out, and containing it. And so they thought, wow, we'll make all our electricity this way and one person said it would be too cheap to meter. Well, what turned out was that building these reactors as they added more and more features around safety, they got very expensive. And so, you know, the biggest problem with nuclear power today is the

plants cost too much. They can't compete with other ways of making electricity. The safety concerns, you're right. Particularly at Chernobyl was, you know, awful loss of life. And so you want a design that you can prove that type of thing is never going to happen.

Now, of course, other forms of making power, you know, including, you know, coal mines collapsing and coal particulate ruining health, and natural gas pipelines blowing up, there's actually more deaths from that the hydrocarbon approaches than from nuclear by a large amount. But we shouldn't accept any deaths.

We should have a farm scratch design, uses the latest digital approaches, and looks at all the challenges, whether it's, you know, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanos, planes crashing into it, and says that the -- just the basic design, make sure you don't have any high pressure or ways that the radioactive material would leave that reactor. So this industry has to prove itself.

COOPER: What's been so interesting to me about how people have responded to some of what you are proposing, because you're really talking about innovation, innovation being the key to this. You know, there has been this argument for a long time from a lot of folks who, you know, doubt the science on this, who say, well, look, even if the science is accurate, you know, there's going to be just some sort of, you know, breakthrough in technology down the road that we can't even imagine.

Like who could have imagined the -- you know, the personal computer or the iPhone, you know, 50 years ago? But there's going to be a breakthrough with that. What's fascinating to me is, you're actually looking eagerly and investing money in any potential breakthrough that's out there.

So you, of all the people I've talked to, you are actually the person looking for a breakthrough and even you are saying to get a breakthrough, we need to invest a ton of money right now.

GATES: Yes, I've lost more money on battery companies than anyone else, I think. Fortunately, a few of them are working. But, you know, there's a lot of dead ends, and --

COOPER: I think you said in some of these investments, like there's an 80 percent failure rate. 80 percent of the stuff you invest in, it doesn't turn out.

GATES: Yes, a 20 percent success rate when you're limiting yourself to things that have dramatic climate benefits, that would be very impressive. I think we'll achieve it, but, you know, that's very hard. You know, you've got to try things. And so we shouldn't stand by passively and just let climate overtake us.

Funding R&D, basic R&D which is, you know, government -- like what government does in health care, at a super generous level, over $35 billion a year, you know, that's the kind of thing that you get companies taking those ideas and taking a risk, creating jobs, and, you know, if they're successful, those products are valuable around the entire world, allowing not just the U.S. to meet its reduction goals, but, you know, help even countries that can't afford to pay a huge cream premium like India.

[21:30:00]

COOPER: So you think $35 billion a year is what the U.S. must be spending on R&D, Research & Development in order to get you know, green technology, green innovations. How much is the U.S. spending right now?

GATES: Even the most generous measurement would have it at about $10 billion a year. So what I'm asking for there is a tripling of that money. And you know that - that's actually fairly cheap in a sense, because compared to all the deployment costs, which can get you up into hundreds of billions or trillions, that is the most leverage, most impactful thing, instead of subsidizing in kind of a brute force way, using the high green premium approach if research can get you an easier path.

And so I you know, I view that as kind of the long lead time thing, particularly for the tough areas. And so I, you know, my message for quite a while now has been of all the things that we need to fund, I'd put that at the top of the list.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: In our last segment, Bill Gates talked about innovation in areas that most agree, need immediate attention, specifically how we make, store and use energy. He's also looking further ahead though toward a more sustainable future and farther afield at how to achieve it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: One of the things that's interesting about having a child is you know, all the cliches are true. One of which is it changes the way you think about time and the way you see you know the planet and your sense of involvement in things. You know, I am reading a book.

[21:35:00]

I was thinking well if my son lives to be 80 years old, he will be alive at, you know, 2000, you know, in 2100, which is the point at which a lot of - if we don't address these problems, people will really see the impact of these problems in a very, very dramatic way. What?

So somebody who's just born today, at 80 years, what will they see in the planet, that that right now we don't see, or some people may not even believe will happen?

GATES: Well, many of the natural ecosystems that we enjoy, things like coral reefs, or the Arctic and Antarctic ecosystems, those will have been destroyed, the ability to work outdoors, anywhere near the equator, will have gone away.

And so the ability to do farming in those areas that will completely fail. And the large number of people who live in those areas will start migrating north, and you'll have great instability, you know, governments will fall you'll have civil wars, you know, the current levels of migration that we see today will be tiny, compared to the climate migration that develops by the end of the century.

And so, you know, big parts of the planet will be unlivable. The nice beaches that we've seen will be - will have gone underwater, during that time period, and all the kind of real estate development near those areas, you know, you'll - you'll see storms that will come so far inland, that you'll just have to leave, abandon those beaches in those areas.

So it, it really gets quite dramatic. You know, if you're in the very north part of the United States, it's not quite as bad, the wildfires, the hot days. But, you know, for the, you know, say Texas or the world as a whole, it's an utterly different world.

COOPER: You said in an interview, I don't think the poorest 80 countries will be eating synthetic meat, I do think all rich countries should move to 100 percent synthetic beef and get used to the taste difference. And the claim is they're going to make it taste even better over time.

I was reading, there was a lot of kind of blowback to that in some media, saying that, essentially, you know, you love cheeseburgers, you're saying that everybody in the developing world should switch to synthetic meat? What do you say to the criticism you got?

GATES: Well, I hope we come up with ways that the traditional way of making beef you know, growing a cow, that we can reduce the emissions, different diet, you know, enclosed infrastructure, there are people who are working on that, and that that is a great thing, that would be way more straightforward.

You know, I certainly, you know, think the, the economy, the ranching economy, you know, we want to keep that, that strong. And, you know, 30 years is a long time. And so, during that time, we should look at every possible form of innovation. You know, food does get cheaper over time. You know, I think if different approaches can make things less expensive, while maintaining the quality, we should be open minded to that.

But, you know, farming, when we're talking about biofuels will actually be a huge contributor to what this green economy looks like, in the future, how the livestock piece that fits in, you know, we should all do the research. And if we can find a way to do it without big shifts, so much the better.

COOPER: But - but synthetic meat is something you think, is going to grow and grow in terms of people's use of it. I mean, right now, they're just impossible -

GATES: Yes. COOPER: - beyond - beyond me.

GATES: Yes. I mean, I'm not, you know, I happen to own farmland in my investment and I'm holding on to that. I don't see that as something that will be in - in less demand, but the livestock piece, it's kind of stunning, how many missions are there and some of the things like manure management can be done in a better way.

Methane emissions.

COOPER: Right. I mean, if methane emissions if like, I think it's like 4 percent or 6 percent of methane emissions of all methane emissions come from cows, farting, and belching. How do you stop that other than not having cows?

GATES: Well, you can have the final growing part being an enclosed environment where those aren't escaping out to the atmosphere.

[21:40:00]

COOPER: That would not be fun to work in that closed environment.

GATES: But you'd have like air circulate normally.

COOPER: OK.

GATES: The - people have even talked about what they eat or changing the bacteria in their stomach. I mean, I wouldn't, you know, I wouldn't put it past science to be able to drop those emissions and still, you know, use the current production system.

And it you know, it's valuable to try and solve this problem a variety of ways.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: More now of my interview with Bill Gates on his new book, 'How to avoid a Climate Disaster.'

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Just in terms of the politics of all this. I know you are in discussions or have been with the Biden Administration. What do you make of what they are calling for? And, you know, what you are calling for? How, what is the difference between those? What's the gap there?

GATES: You know, I really appreciate that. President Biden has appointed smart people on climate, people who care about it, people who understand it's not going to be easy to solve. My breakthrough energy team, you know, is talking to those people about OK, how do we get more transmission or how do we accelerate getting electricity so there's absolutely no emissions there.

You know, how do we use tax credits not just for solar and wind, but for some of these other newer things like energy storage or carbon capture and the actual stimulus bill last year had a lot of these programs gone, authorized including some of the work in nuclear and some new incentives for offshore wind get done.

[21:45:00]

So the, the policy area requires as much innovation and effort as the actual creating of these new products. And, you know, for electric cars, we've seen how that comes together, to drive the demand and get us to where we want to be. So the next four years will be good.

Hopefully, at least elements of the plan, the core elements of plan, we have enough voters, pretty young voters will want to see those continue, even as we have political changes during the next 30 years.

So we can't, you know, just make progress when one party is in power, we'll completely miss because a large capital spending, or power generations, steel plants, cement plants, you know, they - those companies have to see that the requirement to go green is not something that comes and goes through political cycles.

COOPER: You know, this is going to be seen around the world on CNN, CNN International. And so people are going to be looking at it with different sets of eyes and different points of view. Americans - some Americans who are skeptical of perhaps on the science behind all this will say, well, why does America have to do all this stuff when it's, you know, new plants being put up, coal plants in China, and you know, in India, and in other parts of the world?

And there's a lot of folks in other parts of the world, particularly developing world who say, well, you know, why are we the ones who are going to have to limit our, you know, potential for growth when America has been consuming all this stuff now for decades?

GATES: You're absolutely right. The global nature of this problem is one of the reasons why it's so difficult. The - my response would be that the rich countries, and China need to do more than just zero out their own emissions, they also need to take all their innovation power, and come up with approaches to being green, where the extra cost, the green premium is brought down very dramatically.

In my view, if you bring it down 95 percent, then the remaining cost, which is a little over$ 250 billion a year, that's - we can find ways that countries collectively will finance that so that the poor countries aren't having to pay any share of that, as we're asking them to go green.

The middle-income countries like China and India, they will have to agree to it. And if they see that as holding back the basic shelter or air conditioning or light at night, that they haven't gotten for their citizens. They'll tell us no, the rich countries need to send us checks. And yet, if that adds up to trillions over time, it's not likely to happen.

So the only way I can see the square this is bringing those costs down by drawing on innovation power, and I see Europe raising R&D budgets. You know, I think under President Biden we'll see energy R&D budgets go up. And that's actually one part of the climate effort that somewhat bipartisan in nature is, you know, those high paying jobs and opportunities for companies.

But if you told me we could innovate, then I would be very pessimistic about avoiding the climate disaster.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:50:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We spent the hour with Bill Gates talking about everything from the power and water crisis in Texas to what he thinks the U.S., China and other countries can and must do to tackle climate change in the next 30 years. Let's dive now into the future. What gives Gates hope?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: A lot of the stuff you talked about for you know what, what 2100 will look like if we don't make changes sounds very legitimate and certain. You know, history has shown us that we often don't know what lies ahead, or we think we do. But it's hard to predict.

How confident are you that you know, all our concerns, all the scientific consensus, your concerns is legitimate?

GATES: Well, they record the science of why CO2 causes this temp - temperature increase is unquestioned and the fact that it should get that temperature increase, you get more evaporation, so you get more water in the atmosphere. And that also is a greenhouse gas.

So you have this multiplier effect for CO2. The aerobars that is the uncertainty of how much temperature you get, that's still there. But you know, in all of that range, the effects are - are super negative, and you know, could be higher up in that range. So scientists aren't saying we know the exact temperature or the negative weather that results from that.

But all - even the best case now is a pretty awful case that would justify making the R&D investments to change these activities.

COOPER: And just finally, you know, this does seem the problem of you know, the climate disaster, it does seem overwhelming and for all of the scope of it, I know you are optimistic about the possibility of achieving this. What - what gives you the optimism and you know, give us some of that optimism tonight.

GATES: Yes, the - you know, just telling people how bleak it's going to be if we don't do it, that's got to be part of the message because that - that is the truth.

[21:55:00]

And you know, there's not - sadly, there's not uncertainty about the general magnitude of that. I do think we need to talk more about these cool innovations. You know, some things like electric cars, they don't cause local pollution, they aren't as noisy.

You know, once you use one, you're like, wow, this is a better product. And I hope that's true across the board, that we're not just innovating to match. But we're innovating wherever possible to make something better. And, you know, the entrepreneurs and the journey they've been on, the people are documenting what's going on out there.

There's a lot of heroes in this race. And, you know, people need to see that absolutely, we are making progress that you know, the green premiums are coming down, that we're activating a lot of incredible thinkers around these problems. And so, you know, people should be hopeful you know, the world by and large is getting better and climate - we need to make sure climate is not the thing that the blocks that.

COOPER: Bill Gates, thank you so much.

GATES: Thanks.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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