Clean Energy Gets Billion Dollar Boost
As nations gather in Paris to solve our climate change challenge, a coalition of governments and private investors has announced their own strategy for climate action. As detailed in this Washington Post article, Bill Gates is heading up a partnership with twenty-eight of the world’s wealthiest investors to support companies that can provide affordable clean energy to billions of people, with a focus on the developing world. Gates is also working with President Obama and 20 other countries to double energy spending to $20 billion over the next 5 years in a program called “Mission Innovation” – the biggest clean tech fund to date.
While the U.S. has made important strides in clean energy, U.S. officials also acknowledge that “investment has lagged in the kinds of basic energy research needed to solve the climate challenge.” These two initiatives aim to change this. By pumping billions of dollars into clean energy business and research and development, investors and governments are sending an important message: clean energy is an indispensable part of an effective response to our climate challenge. Additionally, increased clean energy use comes with significant co-benefits: decreased use of fossil fuels is crucial for our energy security, a clean energy boom will promote economic growth, and overall public health will improve as our air and water face less threats of pollution.
In the words of Bill Gates, “we need an energy miracle” to meet our climate challenge – and this increased investment in clean energy development just might be the miracle we’ve been looking for.
By Joby Warrick, contributor to The Washington Post
As world leaders converge on Paris for historic climate talks, a coalition of governments and private investors is preparing to launch major research initiatives that seek to pour billions of dollars into an urgent search for solutions to global warming.
President Obama and Microsoft founder Bill Gates are expected to stand with counterparts from more than 20 countries on Monday in announcing the unprecedented efforts, which are aimed at spurring rapid advances in research and development for clean energy, U.S. officials confirmed Sunday.
Nineteen governments, including the United States, China and India, will join in a “Mission Innovation” initiative that commits governments to a doubling of public investments in basic energy research over the next five years, Obama administration officials said.
In a separate program heavily backed by Gates, 28 of the world’s wealthiest investors will pool their money to provide early-stage capital for technologies that offer promise in bringing affordable clean energy to billions of people, especially in the developing world.
“Given the scale of the challenge, we need to be exploring many different paths, and that means we also need to invent new approaches,” Gates explained in a statement on Monday’s launch of the private initiative, dubbed the “Breakthrough Energy Coalition.” Gates said he was “optimistic that we can invent the tools we need” to battle climate change while providing energy to the world’s poor. The amount of investment planned by the group wasn’t announced.
Image credit: CleanTechnica