It’s being called the billionaires’ coalition. Rubbing shoulders with the world leaders at COP21 in Paris, some high-tech gurus are adding their weight to the battle to contain climate change.
Bill Gates has united more than two dozen from the industry to launch the Breakthrough Energy Coalition – whose aim is to advance the production of clean energy.
“The increased governmental research and private investment are to address climate change and to reduce the cost of energy, to reduce poverty. We need to move to sources of energy that are even cheaper than the hydrocarbon energy we use today. We need it to be not only clean, but also reliable,” said the Microsoft founder.
Among those who have signed up are Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma, Richard Branson and George Soros.
Saudi Arabia's Prince Al Waleed bin Talal is the only Arab member of the group. "I am pleased to announce my support to the Breakthrough Energy Coalition under the leadership of my friend, Bill Gates" he announced on a statement on the coalition's website.
"The Alwaleed Philanthropies are dedicated to building sustainable communities around the world and it is imperative that a radical change is made in the way we generate and use energy in order to move towards a more sustainable world. I believe this coalition will aggressively address the dual challenge of satisfying increasing energy needs and combating climate change. Alternatives to current energy resources are urgently needed and research can play an essential role. I look forward to this new endeavor as a continuation of my meaningful and transformational alliance with Bill Gates."
The investors who include hedge fund billionaires will work with 20 countries who have come together to form Mission Innovation – to boost research and development into new technologies to deliver clean energy.
Each nation has vowed to double its budget over the next five years.
Bill Gates has vowed to contribute two billion dollars into the portfolio. He believes new energy sources can be developed more quickly; until now it has often taken decades before newly invented technologies are widely deployed.
“There are dozens of things like that that are high risk but huge impact if they are successful,” he said.
Editor’s note: This article has been edited from the source material
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