In a Facebook post today, company CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that he and his wife Priscilla Chan have joined former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates in launching a new initiative. Dubbed the “Breakthrough Energy Coalition”, the founders will look to support companies that are working on zero-carbon clean technology solutions around the world.
The timing of the announcement comes during a time when the U.N. Climate Control Conference takes place in Paris this week. The Breakthrough Energy Coalition is a private group of investors made up of the likes of Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and CEO; Jack Ma, Founder of Ali Baba and Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group and Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn among other global billionaire investors. Arguably, the working group has a collective net worth over nearly $400 billion and will privately invest in high-risk research on promising technologies.
The Breakthrough Energy Coalition
The coalition notes that current funding initiatives from governments are hugely lacking in meeting energy challenges and demands. An excerpt from the coalition’s website reads:
The existing system of basic research, clean energy investment, regulatory frameworks, and subsidies fails to sufficiently mobilize investment in truly transformative energy solutions for the future.
Citing the need for an immediate influx in funds and the need for new zero-carbon technologies, a statement notes the coalition “cannot wait for the system to change through normal cycles.”
A paper written by Bill Gates explaining in the innovation and the Breakthrough Energy Coalition can be downloaded here. [PDF]
As a separate program, Mission Innovation’s goals are similar to that of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition and is expected to be announced in Paris as well. While the Coalition’s primary objective is to accelerate the ideas and progress for clean energy solutions, Mission Innovation’s primary goal is to bring affordable clean energy innovation to the masses.
A complete breakdown of the participating countries of Mission Innovation and their efforts to contribute to clean energy solutions can be seen here.
As reported by the Washington Post, U.S. officials have confirmed that President Obama and Bill Gates will –along with 20 other countries listed above – announce measures and ‘unprecedented efforts’ to make significant advances in clean energy R&D.
With Mission Innovation, the world’s biggest economies will commit to double their public investments in basic energy research over the next five years, the publication revealed from official sources in Obama’s administration.
Presently, over 180 countries have already pledged to cut or limit carbon pollution with the aim to curb the rise of global temperatures by over 2 degrees Fahrenheit (3.6 degrees Celsius). The pledges and programs will formally be announced and unveiled during the two-week climate conference that includes over 190 participating nations.
Images from Shutterstock and Mission Innovation.