Tech leaders help form clean energy coalition

30 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Gates, Tata, Ambani, Son, partner to bring climate friendly technologies to market.

New York: Bill Gates and some of the world’s other richest entrepreneurs have joined governments from both rich and emerging countries to kick off the Paris climate talks by pledging billions of dollars of investment in clean energy technologies. The United States, France, India and 17 other countries will announce they will double the $10 billion they collectively spend on clean energy research and development in the next five years, shining a spotlight on role of technology in any climate agreement reached in Paris. US President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the Mission Innovation initiative on the first day of the UN climate summit in Paris. Other members of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition include Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Ratan Tata, retired chairman of India’s Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata group, Mukesh Ambani, the chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd, Vinod Khosla, the founder of Khosla Ventures, Softbank’s Masayoshi Son and South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe of African Rainbow Minerals.

The investors want to eliminate the “valley of death” between the early promise of a new energy concept and commercializing it into a viable technology, which “neither government funding nor conventional private investment can bridge,” the group said in a statement. Republicans have vowed to push back against Obama’s climate agenda by withholding funds the administration pledges in Paris for climate aid to poor countries.

Moniz said the idea to come up with a bold R&D plan has been “bubbling now in the last few months” but accelerated in the weeks before the Paris summit. China, the world’s largest emitter, petro-states Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, EU countries, Canada, Indonesia, Korea and Japan are among the other signatories. The private-sector group’s initial investments will target electricity generation and storage, transportation, industrial use, agriculture and energy efficiency. “The high investment risk climate and upfront capital cost of energy investments, particularly renewables, are critical barriers to the development of energy markets,” said Aliko Dangote, founder of Nigeria’s Dangote Group and member of the partnership. “The world urgently needs a new economic revolution driven yet again by adaptations in energy utilization, only this time with a greater consciousness of the environment and resource conservation,” he said.

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