Published: January 24 2010 23:21 | Last updated: January 25 2010 00:59
Bill Gates, one of the world’s leading philanthropists, has warned that growing donor support for climate change threatens thousands of lives in the developing world by squeezing out funding for health.
The warning comes as Mr Gates steps up investment in carbon-free energy and green technology.
He wrote: “If just 1 per cent of the $100bn goal came from vaccine funding, then 700,000 more children could die from preventable diseases. In the long run, not spending on health is a bad deal for the environment because improvements in health, including voluntary family planning, lead people to have smaller families, which in turn reduces the strain on the environment.”
The letter also criticises some western nations, in particular Italy which he accuses of being “uniquely stingy among European donors”, for backtracking on aid commitments. He expressed “huge disappointment” that even his own personal intervention with Silvio Berlusconi, the premier, last June, failed to boost its generosity.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Gates stressed that by tackling child mortality, his existing programmes were helping reduce the birth rate and cut demographic pressure, while work on improved agricultural crops that were drought resistant was helping to deal with the consequences of global warming.
He rejected criticism that he had not followed other philanthropists by channelling some of his foundation’s $34bn in assets to fight global warming, arguing that the best solution was for-profit investment in new carbon-free energy technologies.
“There’s this multi-trillion dollar market and yet the investments in totally new breakthroughs are surprisingly small,” Mr Gates said, adding that he had invested “tens of millions” of dollars in ventures such as enhanced nuclear power.
In his letter, Mr Gates stressed that money spent on health and agriculture – two top priorities for his foundation – was “incredibly well spent”, and represents only a small proportion of aid from rich countries.
He highlighted backtracking by France and Japan on their traditional high level of support for development, and cautioned that much US aid went to reconstruction efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
What is it like to wake up every morning and pretend that you aren’t dying?
Do you believe in the death penalty? What if someone murdered your mother in cold blood? What if someone murdered a stranger’s mother, but saved your life the month before?
If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend?
Would you rather be rich and paralyzed from the waist down or poor and able bodied?
What’s the most expensive gift you have ever received? Is it the best gift you have ever received?
When was the last time you lied? Is it possible to lie without saying anything at all?
Stealing is immoral, right? But what if stealing was the only way to feed a starving child?
If I gave you $20, what percentage would you – really – save? If I gave you $200,000, what percentage would you save? Should there be a difference?
If someone could tell you the exact day and time that you are going to die, would you want them to tell you?
If you found out you were going to die today, would you have any regrets? Would you be happy with the way you spent the last 24 hours of your life?
What’s your single greatest moment of personal failure? Looking back on it now, did it make you weaker or stronger? What did you learn?
Do the words ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’ mean not being persecuted or discriminated against, or do they mean doing whatever you please?
Have you ever discriminated against someone? Imagine that a street gang notorious for wearing purple shirts has robbed and murdered several hundred people in your town. If a man wearing a purple shirt just rang your doorbell, would you answer it?
Is it crazier to choose to be poor or to spend 40 years of your life hating 40 hours a week?
Do you ever feel like you don’t have enough time? How many hours a week do you spend watching TV, or playing video games, or…?
Do you ever celebrate the green lights?
If you could be given another talent or ability, what would you want it to be? Have you ever – really – tried to perfect this ability in yourself?
No matter how bad things get, are you aware that someone always has it worse than you do?
When you help someone, do you ever think, “What’s in it for me?”
Joy is found with simple awareness. What does your joy look like today?
What’s the difference between ‘living’ and ‘existing?’
Are you willing to sacrifice the life of your child or lover to support a war?
Do you ask enough questions, or do you settle for what you know?
If you could do it all over again, would you change anything?
If your life was a novel, what would be the title and how would your story end? (link)
My new local outfitters - A.P.C., Nike, Porter, Edwin, S.N.S., Our Legacy, Freitag bags, Pendelton Woolen Mills, Levi’s Vintage, Asics, Onitsuka Tiger, Comme des Garcons, Henrik Vibskov, Inventory Magazine and many more