In their 10th Annual Letter, Bill and Melinda Gates mark the occasion by answering 10 tough questions that people ask them about their work and optimism: “We will answer them as forthrightly as we can, and we hope that when you’re finished reading, you’ll be just as optimistic as we are.”
One of the questions addresses efforts of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in the fight against climate change. Melinda Gates: “Even breakthrough technology can’t stop the weather from changing. So the world needs to adapt to what’s happening now and what we know is coming. That’s why our foundation’s work, especially in global agriculture, is increasingly focused on climate issues.”
“For smallholder farmers, climate change is not just an ominous global trend. It is a daily emergency,” she says. That is why the foundation invests in helping farmers ‘to be more productive, so that they’ll have more buffer to withstand lean years when they come. We also invest in climate-smart crops that are less susceptible to extreme heat and cold, drought and flooding, and diseases and pests.”
On working with corporations in these areas, Bill Gates adds: “We think poor people should benefit from the same kind of innovation in health and agriculture that has improved life in the richest parts of the world. Much of that innovation comes out of the private sector. But companies have to make a return on their investments, which means they have little incentive to work on problems that mainly affect the world’s poorest people. We’re trying to change that—to encourage companies to focus a bit of their expertise on the problems of the poor without asking them to lose money along the way.”
Read the full Annual Letter.