You might remember an intriguing story from earlier this year, when an investigative journalist discovered that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates had been quietly buying up so much farmland that he now appears to own more of it than anybody else in America.
The story — that the guy behind MS-DOS and Internet Explorer was going all in on agriculture — raised eyebrows in the media, but we never got a satisfying answer about why the billionaire philanthropist was buying up all that farmland.
At least, that was the situation until this week, when Gates held yet another “ask me anything” meet-and-greet on Reddit, this time to promote his new book about climate change. During the AMA, one of the top questions cut right to the chase.
“Hey Bill!” a redditor wrote. “Why are you buying so much farmland?”
Gates’ answer was hard to follow.
“My investment group chose to do this,” he wrote. “It is not connected to climate.”
That sounds like a firm enough answer, but then the billionaire appeared to contradict himself,
“The agriculture sector is important,” he continued. “With more productive seeds we can avoid deforestation and help Africa deal with the climate difficulty they already face.”
Then he doubled down on the climate connection, speculating about whether biofuels could help cut down on engine emissions.
“It is unclear how cheap biofuels can be but if they are cheap it can solve the aviation and truck emissions,” Gates wrote.
What’s the takeaway here? Unclear. Maybe Gates was trying to say that the farmland investments were purely financial, but that he sees ways that they could help the environment.
Or maybe he just likes sharing his opinions, even if they don’t always add up.
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