Date
24 January 2017
Bill Gates (second from left) stands with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, US President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande and Indian PM Narendra Modi at an event near Paris to announce a clean-energy initiative. Photo: Reuters
Bill Gates (second from left) stands with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, US President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande and Indian PM Narendra Modi at an event near Paris to announce a clean-energy initiative. Photo: Reuters

Bill Gates unveils clean-energy coalition

Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates unveiled on Monday a “Breakthrough Energy Coalition”, an initiative that ropes in top businessmen from several countries for investments in clean-energy projects.

Gates unveiled the initiative in Paris on the opening day of the two-week United Nations summit on climate talks.

US President Barack Obama, French President François Hollande and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi were among the world leaders present at the ceremony.

The Breakthrough Energy Coalition includes Gates, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Virgin Group head Richard Branson, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, Amazon chief Jeff Bezos and several other prominent businessmen.

The group will mainly invest in early-stage clean-energy companies across a range of sectors, such as electricity generation and storage, transportation and agriculture, The Guardian reported.

The initiative was announced in conjunction with Mission Innovation – an effort from 21 governments, including the US, Britain, Australia, Germany, China, India and Brazil, to double the amount of public money going into clean energy innovation, the report said.

Speaking at the event, Obama emphasized the need to help emerging economies “skip the dirty phase of development.”

“The leap forward is going to take private sector efforts,” he said. “If we put our best minds behind it and we have the dollars behind it, we will discover what works.” 

Gates, whose personal fortune is estimated by Forbes at about US$80 billion, said during the summer that he will invest about US$1 billion over the next five years in clean-energy projects, USA Today noted.

In Paris, he said that investors have committed about US$2 billion so far to the initiative.

India, meanwhile, launched a separate initiative Monday called the Solar Alliance, comprised of more than 100 countries that are blessed with abundant sunshine.

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