Friday, Gates predicted extraordinary climate action: zero. Not small steps, not incremental progress, not doing less bad: zero. In fact, he stood in front of a slide with nothing but the planet Earth and the number zero. That moment was the most important thing that has happened at TED.
What, exactly, did he say, and why is it so important?
Gates spoke about his commitment to using his massive philanthropic resources (the Gates Foundation is the world's largest) to make life better for people through public health and poverty alleviation ("vaccines and seeds" as he put it). Then he said something he's never said before: that is it because he's committed to improving life for the world's vulnerable people that he now believes that climate change is the most important challenge on the planet.
The goal of zero emissions resonates off one of the goals we said we'd like to see Mayor Mike McGinn address in today's State of the City speech—making Seattle the nation's first carbon-neutral city.
Read the rest of Alex's smart take, which gets deep into the details of Gates' speech, here.