Bill Gates is taking his fight against climate change to the printed page.
Gates is working on “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster,” Doubleday announced Thursday. The Microsoft founder will outline his ideas for achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions, whether through local, national or global action. Gates said in a statement that he wanted to help “build the technologies, businesses, and industries to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.”
At the United Nations’ Climate Action Summit last month, Gates announced that his foundation was working with the World Bank and some European governments to provide $790 million to help millions of the world’s small farmers adapt to climate change. The Gates foundation pledged $310 million of that.
Indians are more likely to believe the COVID crisis will get resolved soon in India than it will globally. Nearly half (48%) think the pandemic is likely to lose steam in India within the next three months (end of May- end of July), which is higher than the number of people hoping for the same to happen globally within this time frame (40%), says a survey.
Fewer Indians (32%) think it may take longer (end of August- end of October) till the crisis resolves in India, but the number of people saying this for the situation changing globally is slightly higher- at 36%.
Fewer than this, both locally (7%) and globally (10%) think the pandemic may last till the end of the year (end of November- end of December) till it is under control.
All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) Director Randeep Guleria on previous Thursday said that India may witness the peak of COVID-19 cases in June or July, adding, that earlier it was analysed that the peak will be in May but due to extended lockdown the peak has also been extended.
When asked about returning back to normal life, people seem more likely to return to public places such as parks and gardens, college and universities, malls and cinema halls (27% each), and restaurants and hotels (25%) once the number of COVID positive cases in the country are under control (27% each). Three in ten (31%) would consider visiting their friends and family at their homes under similar circumstances.
23% are willing to take a domestic holiday or a staycation when there is no further spike in cases, but when it comes to travelling internationally, Indians are more likely to do so either when the spread of new cases in controlled globally with 21% saying this or when a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 is widely available (20%).
On the other hand, 29 percent Indians say they are more likely to return back to their offices or workplace once the government removes restrictions on movement. A fifth are willing to do so when businesses open again.
While the Coronavirus is one of the greatest health crises faced by mankind, it has changed the world in some areas. According to 68 per cent, the biggest positive impact is believed to be on the environment. Recently, thousands of flamingos flocked to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), with The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) estimating that numbers are 25% higher than the previous year.
The virus has also taught us to value what we have and 50% of the respondents think it has helped us appreciate our loved ones and the society.
On overall positivity and outlook, many believe it may lead to technological advancements (43%), stronger domestic supply chain (35%) and less polarisation within the society (27%). A handful of people (6%), however, believe there will be nothing good coming out of this crisis. (IANS)
While it appears that only a COVID-19 vaccine may take us back to normal, its development may take at least nine months to two years, billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has said.
Even though several drugs are also being tested to treat COVID-19, Gates believes the perfect drug that might help the world go back to the way things were in December before the coronavirus pandemic is far from sight.
“Most of the drug candidates right now are nowhere near that powerful. They could save a lot of lives, but they aren’t enough to get us back to normal,” the Microsoft co-founder wrote in his GatesNotes blog on Thursday.
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In the absence of an “almost perfect drug to treat COVID-19”, it becomes imperative that every person on the planet gets vaccinated against coronavirus. “Realistically, if we’re going to return to normal, we need to develop a safe, effective vaccine. We need to make billions of doses, we need to get them out to every part of the world, and we need all of this to happen as quickly as possible,” he said.
While vaccine development usually takes around five years, Gates believes that scientists may come up with a coronavirus vaccine within 9 months to two years time. “As of April 9, there are 115 different COVID-19 vaccine candidates in the development pipeline. I think that eight to ten of those look particularly promising,” said Gates.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is funding several efforts to find a solution to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Microsoft co-founder explained that safety and efficacy are the two most important goals for every vaccine.
Some minor side effects, like a mild fever or injection site pain, are generally acceptable, and all vaccines do not have 100 per cent efficacy. “For example, this year’s flu vaccine is around 45 percent effective,” he said.
“I suspect a vaccine that is at least 70 per cent effective will be enough to stop the (COVID-19) outbreak. A 60 per cent effective vaccine is useable, but we might still see some localised outbreaks. Anything under 60 per cent is unlikely to create enough herd immunity to stop the virus,” Gates noted.
The World Meteorological Organization is warning that if the planet keeps warming at its current pace, the average global temperature could increase by 1.5 degrees C in the next 10 years. This rise would worsen extreme weather events, and many of the dangerous effects of climate change might become irreversible, it said.
WMO reported Wednesday that the national lockdowns of transportation, industry and energy production because of the coronavirus pandemic have resulted in a 6 percent drop of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.
However, WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said this good news would be short-lived. He said the startup of industry might even trigger a boost in emissions. He said the pandemic also was making it more difficult to monitor and manage weather and other hazards.
“This current COVID crisis has led to the decrease in some measurements,” he said. For example, “airline companies have been carrying out measurements. Since we have very few flights nowadays, we have less measurements from the aircraft, which is having a negative impact on the quality of the forecasts.”
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While the world is in the throes of tackling two big issues at the same time, Taalas said, the magnitude of problems associated with climate change is much greater than that of COVID. He said health and economic problems resulting from the pandemic were devastating but noted they would last only a few years.
“If we are unable to mitigate climate change, we will see persistent health problems, especially hunger and the ability to feed the growing population of the world, and there will be also more massive impact on economies,” he said.
Taalas said the world needs to show the same determination and unity against climate change as against COVID-19. He said people everywhere need to act together in the interests of the health and welfare of humanity, for the sake of this and future generations. (VOA)