Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg launch renewable energy investment group

Some of the world's most powerful figures including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Branson have announced a new collaboration aimed at creating affordable and reliable clean energy for the entire planet.

The Breakthrough Energy Coalition, which also includes Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma among others, has been set up to invest in zero-carbon energy technology around the world.

In a blog annnouncing the new scheme, Bill Gates said: “Our primary goal with the Coalition is as much to accelerate progress on clean energy as it is to make a profit.”

New technologies 

The Coalition was launched alongside another new clean energy initiative called Mission Innovation, which commits its members to doubling their respective R&D investments over five years.

So far 12 countries representing 80% of global R&D spending are participating in Mission Innovation, including the US, India, France, Germany, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, the UAE and the UK.

US President Barack Obama stated: “These additional resources will dramatically expand the new technologies that will define a future global power mix that is clean, affordable, and reliable.

“The Breakthrough Energy Coalition, an independent initiative launched simultaneously with Mission Innovation and spearheaded by Bill Gates, is a global group of private investors that will take the risks that allow the early stage energy companies that emerge from the research programs of Mission Innovation countries to come out of the lab and into the marketplace.”

Mission Innovation, will see these nations double their energy research investments over the next five years, to $20bn. Bill Gates recently called for international Governments to triple R&D funding for renewable technologies in order to find a ‘magic solution‘ to climate change.

21 for COP21

A statement from The White House reads: “Members of these initiatives recognize a crucial reality: we need to accelerate the development of clean energy solutions to match the urgency of tackling climate change. We need an all-in, all-sector approach to transform global energy markets to address this challenge, and new technologies will play a critical role in this transformation.

“Our climate imperatives, coupled with the world’s need for energy and electricity, mean that we don’t have the luxury of decades to develop and deploy new technologies.”

The launch of these two initiatives coincides with the start of COP21, the two-week climate conference in Paris, where world leaders – many of which have signed up to Mission Innovation – will hope to reach an agreement in lowering the world’s carbon emissions to a safer total.

In the first of an exclusive two-part feature released today, edie has rounded up the thoughts of sustainability professionals, politicians, businessmen and environmental activists on what they want to see from the Paris climate talks.

Matt Mace

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