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Bill Gates spearheads climate change initiatives

A group of IT entrepreneurs, CEOs, investment gurus and dignitaries have announced an alliance at the Paris 2015 Climate Conference to fund clean energy research

Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Salesforce’s Mark Benioff, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Meg Whitman joined Virgin’s Richard Branson and financier George Soros, among others, to launch the Breakthrough Energy Coalition.

The group believes that technology can be applied to solve the problem of climate change.

Scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs can invent and scale the innovative technologies that will limit the effects of climate change while also providing affordable and reliable energy to everyone, the Breakthrough Energy Coalition stated on its website.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates warned that modern lifestyles largely depend on burning a huge amount of hydrocarbons, which changes the climate in a way that threatens the poorest people on the planet.

Gates was at the Paris 2015 Climate Conference to launch the initiative, along with a multi-government climate change alliance.

Along with US president Barack Obama and French president François Hollande, Gates launched Mission Innovation, a multination initiative, which aims to reinvigorate and accelerate public and private global clean energy innovation, with the hope of making clean energy widely affordable. 

Participating countries include Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, the UK and Northern Ireland, the United Arab Emirates and the US.

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“Governments have been there to fund basic research. That was true of the digital revolution where government contracts led to the internet,” said Gates.

In a paper on the Energy Innovation site, Gates wrote: “Private companies have made the internet a hub of global commerce and communication, but it would not exist without early government investments in computer chips and communications technology. The digital revolution, which has empowered people worldwide, owes a considerable debt to federally funded research.”

On the subject of funding research, he said: “We need to pair that with people who are willing to fund high-risk breakthrough energy companies. If we come together and realise what solves the energy problem, I am confident we will make the breakthrough.”

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