Prodding the Sacred Cow


The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest philanthropy, has overlooked the biggest threat to human health and human future - the increasing rate of climate destabilization from global warming.

**********   UPDATE   ***********

Failure To Tackle Climate Change Spells A Global Health Catastrophe, Experts Warn
ScienceDaily (Sep. 16, 2009) — An editorial and letter, published simultaneously by the BMJ and Lancet, warn that failure to agree radical cuts in carbon dioxide emissions at the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen this December spells a global health catastrophe.

Last year the Foundation co-chairman said about Global Warming:  “The fact of the matter is we don’t think about it”.   I urge you to change that immediately to state:  “Every individual, organization and state should be thinking about climate change now”.

For too long the Gates Foundation ignored extensive research that concludes global warming and climate destabilization has extended and amplified disease and other human health problems .  Your science advisers can tell you that global warming is caused, enhanced and accelerated by carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by industrial civilization.  The biggest danger to our future is that we may fail to regulate CO2 output  Continued global warming causes sea levels to rise which will increase disease vector populations

If eradicating malaria is the goal then you must regard the compelling data and devastating forces of a changing climate.  All of the awesomely great works by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation can be undone by the horrible realities of Global Warming to come.  If you truly want to support human health and nurture prosperity, then you need to refocus and modify priorities in a way that respects climate change.
The investment policy for the Foundation Trust forbids trading in tobacco stock since that industry so obviously harms health.  Similarly, I ask you to halt investments in carbon fuel companies and other polluting industries.  You may derive revenue from over $1 billion invested in oil company stocks, but the resulting greenhouse gas emissions will further increase the rate of warming.  Until you decide how best to be part of the solution, please don’t be part of the problem.  You should completely divest from any hydro-carbon energy company stock holdings.

We all praise the Gates Foundation for generosity and laudatory good works saving lives and giving hope for the future.  But gradually, inexorably, everyone is beginning to feel the aggravation, pain and real suffering from our destabilizing climate.  To further ignore the problem is misguided, shortsighted and squanders the opportunity for change. 

At the very least, you should accept climate change as a real cause of suffering, and include it when evaluating the global health metrics that underlie your good works.  With such an honest view, others can share in your objective: for all people to have healthy and productive lives.

Failure to act is the biggest sin. Knowledgeable people of wealth and power should take a stand - because it is right, because it is needed and because inaction brings harm to us all

     Richard Pauli    February 2009

Cross posted in the Seattle PI First Person opinion March 2, 2009

Recent email from the Gates Foundation on Global Warming

Update: The World Health Organization report on malaria.

Yale University Environment 360 The Spread of New Diseases: The Climate Connection Oct 2009


Great work, Richard.

You know, since Microsoft products have always worked so poorly and caused so many problems for so many users all around the world, they cause computers to run far longer than necessary, needlessly burning up electricity and adding to our global warming burdens.

All that time defragging that crappy operating system, rebooting, running long virus scans, anti-spyware scans, adware scans and all the other time-killing and computer overheating activities directly related to their greed and their subpar product have made things worse for climate change.

So it's even more unacceptable that the Gates Foundation is downplaying climate change and their responsibilities to do something about it.

It's bad enough that they're not doing what they should. But it's even worse that they're not speaking out and putting their media machine behind exposing the truth and bringing it to as many people as possible.

I salute you, Richard, for being the mosquito in the Gates Foundation tent. Before we get them to change, we've got to make them start thinking about it. Looks to me like you've started that process.

Hi Richard,

Did you perchance see Joe Romm's post today entitled,
"Gates Foundation strategy raises key question: Can the problems of the developing world be solved by ignoring global warming?"

You'll find it at

It's an interesting topic.

Bravo! It's time someone revealed the fraud behind the curtain. Even the most hyped philanthropic organization can wear blinders.

My hunch: There would be an initial profit loss were Microsoft to face how its products contribute to climate change and make the changes required to produce a more sustainable alternative.

If that is the case, why bring up global warming at all in your philanthropic efforts? Someone would be sure to point out the hypocrisy.

Richard, I appreciate this post, and I agree that Bill and Melinda Gates are failing in their leadership role by failing to address global warming.

It might be that they are just getting bad information... I know that to be an insular world of digital technology and finance.

Bill McKibben of has an excellent comment: "... the adversary here is not Republicans, or socialists, or deficits, or taxes, or misogyny, or racism, or any of the problems we normally face -- adversaries that can change over time, or be worn down, or disproved, or cast off. The adversary here is physics...
Physics has set an immutable bottom line on life as we know it on this planet."

My snarky comment is it seems that Gates must either dominate or ignore.


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