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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Monday, January 22, 2018

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Billionaires team up to fund green tech to combat climate change

The goal of the investment fund designed

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PARIS - A team of billionaires including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, George Soros and several others from a number of countries have forged a Breakthrough Energy Coalition to combat climate change through investment in companies they believe can help make clean energy widely available.

The goal of the investment fund designed to promote zero-emission technologies is to help speed up the pace of innovation in order to fight the effects of climate change.

"Given the scale of the challenge, we need to be exploring many different paths and that means we also need to invent new approaches," Microsoft CEO Bill Gates said in a statement ahead of the official launch of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition here Monday as world leaders and climate negotiators from around the world gather to negotiate over 12 days how to slow global warming.

More than 25 investors from 10 countries are part of the coalition, which has pledged undisclosed billions of dollars for innovation and research.

"Private companies will ultimately develop these energy breakthroughs, but their work will rely on the kind of basic research that only governments can fund," said Gates on his blog.

More than 190 nations, accounting for 90 percent of the world's carbon dioxide emissions, are participating in the summit, which is expected to see some tough negotiations as the developed countries try to get the developing countries to also share the burden of funding new green technologies while each country sets out plans to limit their carbon dioxide emissions to limit global warming.

The Breakthrough Energy Coalition (BEC) plans to invest in a number of sectors including electricity generation and storage, transport, industry, agriculture and energy system efficiency.

It is primarily interested in research efforts linked to "novel technologies and innovations which enable current technologies to be dramatically more efficient, scalable, or cheaper." During the UN Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP-21), which got off to a grand start Monday, Gates will be meeting leaders to tie up Mission Innovation funding.

Gates says that wind and solar power have a part to play in a future without carbon footprints, given the scale of the challenge in keeping the world operational as fossil fuels become more scarce, "many different paths" need to be explored.

"We already invest in renewable and clean energy for our Facebook facilities today, but we believe that building a positive future for the next generation also means investing in long term projects that companies and governments don't fund. This is an important focus for us, and we'll share more about it in the coming days," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated in a blog post.

"We won't be able to make meaningful progress on other challenges -- like educating or connecting the world -- without secure energy and a stable climate."

The coalition will be focusing its resources on government-funded innovation that comes from countries signed up to the Mission Innovation initiative.

Global investment in clean energy rose to $270 billion last year, the first significant increase after a three-year lull in investment. China led the way with $89 billion in new money for renewables, followed by the US at $51 .

The tumbling costs of renewables solar, for example, has dropped in price by 70 percent since 2009 has helped bolster installation but experts have warned that dependency upon fossil fuels will need to be reduced more quickly if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change fueled by greenhouse gases.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change, most of the world's electricity can and must be produced by low-carbon sources by 2050.

The panel said that renewables needed to grow from a 30 percent share today to 80 percent of power generation by 2050, with fossil fuel energy without carbon capture and storage technology phased out by 2100.> BNN

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