Bill Gross: How Technology Can Solve the Climate Crisis

I had the privilege of seeing this presentation in person. It is a masterclass in presentation, critical thinking, framing, and so much more. In 25 minutes Bill successfully defines, educates, contextualizes, and presents (viable) solutions to the climate crisis, and does so in an engaging, entertaining, inspiring way. It's one of the best presentations I've ever seen.

Framing is Everything

Bill frames the climate crisis in terms that are easy to digest and quantify. A couple of choice bits that efficiently and effectively define the nature of the problem:

Each of us is putting our body weight in CO2 up into the atmosphere every single day.
The extra heat that we're adding to the planet, to the ground to the oceans, because of that extra CO2 is equal to three Hiroshima bombs going off every single second of every single day.
A billion animals died in Australia just last month.

When you read these stats, you fucking get it. There's a lot of hard science underneath these high-level qualitative headline stats, but they're not all that helpful for defining the problem. The goal here was to define the problem in order to inspire action. To do that, you have to contextualize the problem in terms your audience understands.

Framing really is everything.

Pick One Thing: Price

Climate change can be intellectually intimidating. This frames the one key metric anyone attempting a solution must solve in the simplest possible terms: price.

If the way to solve the climate crisis is to stop burning fossil fuels, then you can't solve them problem without solving price. You have to make any solution cheaper than oil.

Second & N-Order Thinking

In this slide, he sums up all the ways energy can be stored:

How can we use gravity in a novel way to store energy? I won't summarize the whole talk here. I'll just say that it's inspiring and illuminating to watch him walk through the process of distilling hard engineering problems to consumable chunks, and take you through the process of discovering creative solutions. It's "big E" Engineering before your eyes.

There's too much to praise and fawn over in this presentation. Enjoy.

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