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Solving for Zero: The Search for Climate Innovation

Nuclear batteries. Eco-friendly cement. Hybrid crops. Explore innovative solutions to the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced.
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To avoid the worst climate change outcomes, we need to reduce CO2 emissions to net zero. Our deadline: 2050.

It’s the world’s greatest opportunity for innovation, and those game-changing inventions are at the core of Solving for Zero: The Search for Climate Innovation, a 10-part learning series highlighting lessons from the documentary, Solving for Zero, based on the best-selling book by Bill Gates. From nuclear batteries to hydrogen electric engines, delve deeper than ever into mind-blowing technology that can mitigate the disastrous effects of climate change. Because if there’s a will to innovate, there’s a way out for us.


Bill Gates

If you have enough smart people working on a problem, you can make anything happen, within the laws of physics, of course.

Bill Gates is a technologist, business leader, and philanthropist. In 1975, he cofounded Microsoft with his childhood friend Paul Allen; today, he is cochair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In addition to authoring How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, he launched Breakthrough Energy, an effort to commercialize clean energy and other climate-related technologies.

By This Expert

Solving for Zero
Solving for Zero: The Search for Climate Innovation
Solving for Zero: The Search for Climate Innovation


How We Got Here

01: How We Got Here

Since 1880, global average temperatures have steadily increased. Now, these overall warming trends have started to impact the Earth’s climate—taking a system we depend on to live out of balance. How is human-related activity responsible? In this introductory lesson, get the background science on how we arrived at our current climate challenge.

29 min
This Will Be Hard

02: This Will Be Hard

The primary driver in the transition to carbon-free technologies? Economics—not the environment. Here, explore some of the many difficulties involved in decarbonizing five key sectors that are the major sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and consider the difficulty of reducing the cost of clean technologies to be as cheap as those we use today.

29 min
How We Plug In

03: How We Plug In

Electricity is central to much of everyday life, but it’s also one of the leading contributors to climate change. How can we scale clean electricity in the coming decades—and use it to decarbonize in other sectors? Consider nuclear batteries radically different (and smaller) than power plants, innovative carbon-capture solutions, and more.

31 min
How We Make Things

04: How We Make Things

In the coming decades, building construction will skyrocket. Which means we’ll need to invent new ways of manufacturing without all the emissions they create. Hear from innovators making key breakthroughs in cement and steel production, and learn why reducing the green premiums associated with them can be another essential tool.

28 min
How We Grow Things

05: How We Grow Things

By 2050, the world’s population is projected to be up to 10 billion people. As a result, we’ll need to produce far more food than we currently do. In this lesson, explore some of the ingenious advances in the agricultural industry to lower greenhouse emissions, as well as breakthroughs in AI that can help preserve and restore the world’s forests.

24 min
How We Transport Things

06: How We Transport Things

Transportability, energy density, and cost make fossil fuels the primary means for how people and goods get around. How can we replace them with something as cheap and capable of fueling long-distance travel and shipping? Find out with a closer look at electric vehicles, hydrogen-electric aviation, and the largest sailing boat humanity has ever built.

32 min
The Buildings We Live In

07: The Buildings We Live In

Ironically, the very thing we’ll need to survive a warming world will make climate change even worse. That’s why heating and cooling is another sector that’s ripe for innovation. Peer over the shoulders of innovators as they reinvent ways to keep ourselves cool and warm, including electric heat pumps, carbon-free synthetic fuels, and better ways to seal ductwork.

28 min
Adapting to a Warmer World

08: Adapting to a Warmer World

Climate change is already happening, and whether you’re living on a remote farm or in a major global city, we’re all going to have to adjust. Discover how scientists are developing new crops to meet changing conditions, what rising sea levels will mean our planet, and a brilliant way to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere using the world’s beaches.

30 min
Why Government Policies Matter

09: Why Government Policies Matter

When it comes to climate change, the government is only mechanism we have capable of ushering in the transformations we need. It can provide opportunities for developing ideas, testing designs, and proving them in the marketplace in ways the private sector can’t. Hear from leading experts about what we’ll need the world’s governments to do—and not do.

29 min
How We Do This Together

10: How We Do This Together

The choices we make in the coming years will determine how we handle the challenge in front of us. In this final lesson, examine some of the ways we can transform our world so everyone is lifted up and none are left behind. There’s much to be hopeful about in our quest to solve for zero. It’s just a matter of finding the collective will to do it.

29 min