Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates is set to unveil the world’s biggest fund to research and develop clean energy technologies at the Paris Climate Change Summit on Monday, the New York Times reported on Saturday, citing people with knowledge of the matter. The fund is said to include contributions from other philanthropists as well as commitments by many world leaders.
The partnership, described as the largest such effort in history, will focus on researching and deploying clean energy technologies and is intended to give momentum to the two-week Paris summit.
According to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the fund has commitments from a group of developing and developed countries, including the United States, China and India, to double their research and development budgets for clean energy and form a coalition to conduct joint work.
"This is the beginning of a broader effort to demonstrate that clean technology research and deployment will be the key to meeting the climate goals made in Paris," a former government official with knowledge of the deal told Environment & Energy Publishing.
World leaders will be reportedly looking to reach a consensus on how to enact policies to reduce fossil fuel emissions at the Paris Summit. The transition, which would require major technological breakthroughs and investments in renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, has not been an easy pill to swallow, with developing countries like India pushing for higher commitments from developed nations.
In June, Gates told French President François Hollande that the Paris deal should include robust provisions on clean-energy research and development.
One of the world’s largest philanthropic organizations, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has not invested in clean-energy initiatives until now. It has been focusing mostly on poverty alleviation, education and medical programs. However, Gates has personally invested in a number of ambitious energy technologies in the past -- with a goal to reach zero global carbon emissions in the next three decades.
One of Gates' investments, a Washington-based nuclear energy technology company TerraPower, aims to use depleted uranium to fuel smaller sodium-cooled nuclear power plants.
"Right now, the world spends only a few billion dollars a year on researching early-stage ideas for zero-carbon energy," Gates wrote on his blog in July. "It should be investing two or three times that much."