Bill Gates never said cows pollute more than vehicles, but he did express concern about the risks of bovine flatulence, which has been misinterpreted.
In his 2019 annual letter, which addressed rising problems about climate change, Gates raised concerns about the risks of methane emitted by cows: "I wish more people fully understood what it will take to stop climate change," the letter stated. It also states that electricity accounts for only a fourth of total greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. He claims that manufacturing and agriculture, which account for 21 percent and 24 percent of global greenhouse emissions, are mostly disregarded. Despite the idyllic image of cows grazing on green rolling hills, Gates points out that cattle are a source of pollution "when they belch and pass gas.''
Speaking to CNN's Fareed Zakaria, Gates pointed out that addressing global warming requires an approach beyond clean energy, and this includes directly addressing sources of emissions such as agriculture and cattle. Gates mentions that bacteria in the stomachs of grass-eating animals lead them to release natural gas, and no one knows how to stop cows from expelling this gas, which is a source of greenhouse gas emissions.
Gates is not advocating for the abolition of cattle farming, nor claiming that cows pollute the environment more than cars or vehicles. He wants the world to focus more on finding solutions to the environmental concerns affecting the planet. The claim misinterprets his comments and is therefore misleading.