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Bill Gates believes 'all rich countries should move to 100% synthetic beef' to combat climate change

"You can get used to the taste difference, and the claim is they're going to make it taste even better over time," Gates said.

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Bill Gates in November 2019
Bill Gates in November 2019
(Mike Cohen/Getty Images for The New York Times)
Updated: February 16, 2021 - 10:43pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Bill Gates believes that wealthy nations should shift to "synthetic beef" in an effort to combat climate change.

"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 said during an interview with MIT Technology 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]," he also said during the interview. "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 wealthy Microsoft cofounder and author of the book "How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need," noted that simply telling people "You can't have cows anymore" would be "politically unpopular." 

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