Bill Gates says “all rich countries should move to 100% synthetic beef”

In an interview, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said rich countries "can get used to the taste difference, and the claim is they’re going to make it taste even better over time."

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During a recent interview with Technology Review, Bill Gates said in terms of reducing emissions from food production, specifically beef, it seems like the best option is to move entirely to synthetic beef.

“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.”

However, Gates recognizes that this approach is “unpopular”, stating: “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.”

He says the countries that will be eating the synthetic meats will be the rich countries rather than the poorer countries.

“I don’t think the poorest 80 countries will be eating synthetic meat. I do think all rich countries should move to 100% synthetic beef.”

Adding that government regulation may be a solution to changing people’s diets, “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.”

For “poor countries” gates says “we’ll have to use animal genetics to dramatically raise the amount of beef per emissions for them.” but that “Weirdly, the US livestock, because they’re so productive, the emissions per pound of beef are dramatically less than emissions per pound in Africa.

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