Bill Gates

Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is expected to unveil a multibillion-dollar fund for clean energy technology to combat climate change on Monday, according to Bloomberg based on information from an environmental group familiar with the matter.

Mr. Gates is the world’s richest man with a net worth of $86.4 billion (as of November 25), based on Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index. He is a philanthropist.

Jake Schmidt, international program director at Natural resources Defense Council, said the initiative is the largest commitment in the history of clean energy research— a partnership between the United States and France.

According to Schmidt, Mr. Gates along with other wealthy philanthropists made a financial commitment to support new research & development on clean energy technology.  They will collaborate with the United States and other countries on research programs.

In a previous blog post, Mr. Gates indicated that he would allocate $1 billion of his personal money on clean energy research over the next five years.

Mr. Gates wrote, “If we create the right environment for innovation, we can accelerate the pace of progress, develop and deploy new solutions, and eventually provide everyone with reliable, affordable energy that is carbon free. We can avoid the worst climate-change scenarios while also lifting people out of poverty, growing food more efficiently, and saving lives by reducing pollution.”

Schmidt said the United States could double its funding commitment for clean energy research while other countries may also increase their support.

“There’s going to have to be a number of things set in motion in the coming years to put us on that trajectory. We know we’re going to have to drive down the costs of technology deployment and maybe even create some new technologies,” said Schmidt, who was briefed on the partnership of the United States and France.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris will start on Monday. The conference will be attended be attended by more than 150 heads of state and governments to reach a new and universal agreement on climate change.

Schmidt said, “The idea is to show that these countries and these entrepreneurs are going to step up their effort to help speed up the kinds of emissions cuts we’re going to need.”

Two initiatives on energy and climate change

In a blog post, Mr. Gates said he is currently in Paris with several world leaders for a big announcement on energy and climate change.

“It is deeply moving to be in this city just two weeks after the horrific attacks here, and I am inspired by the way the French people have persevered in such a difficult time,” wrote Mr. Gates.

According to Mr. Gates, two related initiatives—the Mission Innovation and the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, will be announced during an event today.

Mr. Gates said the Mission Innovation involves more than ten countries committed to invest more on clean energy.

The Breakthrough Energy Coalition involves group of global private investors who will support companies that are taking innovative clean-energy ideas out of the lab and into the marketplace.

Gates on zero-carbon energy future

Mr. Gates said, “Our primary goal with the Coalition is as much to accelerate progress on clean energy as it is to make a profit.”

He also noted that the growing demand for energy (50% more by mid-century) is good news, but also a big problem. A majority of energy still comes from hydrocarbon, which emit hydrocarbon gases that cause climate changes. Mr. Gates said, “We need to move to sources of energy that are affordable and reliable, and don’t produce any carbon.”

Mr. Gates added that many progress in renewable technologies like wind and solar, which could be a path toward zero-carbon energy future.  According to him, exploring many different ways including inventing new approaches is necessary to achieve a zero-carbon energy future.

He said, “Private companies will ultimately develop these energy breakthroughs, but their work will rely on the kind of basic research that only governments can fund. Both have a role to play.

“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. I hope even more governments and investors will join us,” said Mr. Gates.

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