Bill Gates leads billionaires in $2bn climate push

Bill Gates leads billionaires in $2bn clean energy fund

Bill Gates, the world’s richest man, has led a group of billionaires in pledging to funnel $2bn into clean energy through private investments and a new fund to be set up in 2016.

Gates will be joined by 28 private investors from around the world in the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, an informal club that will invest seed money into energy research and development. Other contributors include Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed, chairman of Alwaleed Philanthropies, Alibaba Group’s Jack Ma and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

The investors will collaborate with 20 nations, including the UK, US, Saudi Arabia, India and China, which have each agreed to double their spending on clean energy research over the next five years, in an arm of the plan known as Mission Innovation.

“I am optimistic that we can invent the tools we need to generate clean, affordable, reliable energy that will help the poorest improve their lives and also stop climate change,” Gates said. “I hope even more governments and investors will join us.”

The fund, hailed by US President Obama as a “groundbreaking new public-private initiative”, was announced during the opening day of UN-led climate change talks, currently ongoing in Paris.

The talks aim to produce an agreement that will bind all nations in committing to tackling climate change, cutting pollution and ending reliance on fossil fuels in favour of cleaner energy sources.

Read the full statement by Bill Gates here