• Richard Easson

Bill Gates Insists that Wealthy Nations Switch to 100% Synthetic Beef

Just when you thought one of the globe’s wealthiest men couldn’t get any stranger, he does. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is insisting on the world’s richest nations to switch to lab-grown of plant-based “meats” to combat climate change.

In an interview with MIT Technology Review to plug his new book, “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster,” Gates informed readers that he is pretty optimistic about the idea of people transitioning from real beef to synthetic alternatives due to cows being a nuisance to the environment because of their flatulence emissions.

Gates told the review, "In terms of livestock, it's very difficult. There are all the things where they feed them different food, like there's this one compound that gives you a 20% reduction [in methane emissions]. But sadly, those bacteria [in their digestive system that produce methane] are a necessary part of breaking down the grass. And so I don't know if there'll be some natural approach there. I'm afraid the synthetic [protein alternatives like plant-based burgers] will be required for at least the beef thing."

The billionaire tech giant and newly minted largest private farmland owner in the U.S. went on to praise a number of meat-alternative companies that he invests in including Beyond Meat, Memphis Meats, and Impossible Foods, and noted that "as for scale today, they don't represent 1% of the meat in the world, but they're on their way."

He noted that the world’s poorer nations most likely wouldn’t have the ability to switch to meat alternatives and that they’d “have to use animal genetics to dramatically raise the amount of beef per emissions for them.” He also said, “I do think all rich countries should move to 100% synthetic beef. You can get used to the taste difference, and the claim is they're going to make it taste even better over time. Eventually, that green premium is modest enough that you can sort of change the [behavior of] people or use regulation to totally shift the demand.”

Gates went on to complain about the pushback in Congress regarding the labeling of meat-alternative products as “beef” on packaging but did recognize that his idea probably will take time to catch on. He told the Review, "Now I've said I can actually see a path. But you're right that saying to people, 'You can't have cows anymore'—talk about a politically unpopular approach to things."

A life under a Gates regime would be quite interesting, to say the least. The billionaire all in for the green movement would have us eating lab-grown meat alternatives and dependent on the same wind turbines (or what I like to dub a “Condor Cuisinart”) that froze across Texas a couple of days ago. If anything, a switch to plant-based alternatives would benefit the companies he invests in. Nice going, Bill, we see where this is going.