Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates and an all star line up of very wealthy and very influential investors are launching a fund to solve climate change related problems.
— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) December 12, 2016
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Over the next two decades Gates and 19 others plan to put more than one billion dollars (£793 million) into a new fund which aims to to fight climate change through energy innovation.
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The fund’s backers are together worth around £135 billion, one of the richest collection of investors in history.
Breakthrough Energy Ventures will invest in technologies which are set to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least half a gigaton” and that have “existing scientific proof of concept”.
The fund, which also includes Alibaba founder Jack Ma, Richard Branson, and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, will officially launch today and will start making investments in 2017. Its main aim will be to develop technologies that can reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
Acting as chairman of the fund, Gates, according to Quartz, says the group is “open-minded” about potential investments. “People think you can just put $50 million in and wait two years and then you know what you got. In this energy space, that’s not true at all,” he told the publication.
“Our goal is to build companies that will help deliver the next generation of reliable, affordable, and emissions-free energy to the world,” Gates said in a further statement. Overall, it is thought the 20 people behind the fund are worth around $170bn (£134bn).
The launch of the fund comes at a time when the president-elect of the United States has said “nobody really knows” if climate change is real – however, Trump also said he is “open-minded” about the issue. It also follows the Paris climate change agreement that aims to stop global average temperatures from rising too high coming into force on November 4.
The fund is a follow-up to the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, announced in November 2015. The coalition is made up of an elite group of private investors that includes Faceook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
The coalition’s website says the group is “committed to investing in new technologies to find better, more efficient and cheaper energy sources”. As well as its newly announced venture arm, the coalition will also act as a partnership between governments, research groups and investors.
“The existing system of basic research, clean energy investment, regulatory frameworks, and subsidies fails to mobilise sufficient investment in truly transformative energy solutions for the future,” the coalition says.