President Obama, Bill Gates Announce Historic Investment in Clean Energy Research

President Obama will join with the leaders of 18 other countries as well as Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates on Monday at the United Nations Climate Summit in Paris to launch a historic expansion in clean energy research and development funding, reported Mashable.

According to NYT, the fund, which one of the people described as the largest such effort in history, is meant to pay for research and development of new clean-energy technologies. It will include contributions from other billionaires and philanthropies, as well as a commitment by the United States to double its budget for clean energy research and development, according to the people with knowledge of the plans, who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the fund.

The announcement of the fund, which has the joint backing of the governments of the United States, China, India and other countries, the people said, is intended to give momentum to the two-week Paris climate talks.

Where that money would come from has been a question leading up to the Paris talks. Developing countries like India, the third-largest fossil-fuel polluter, have pushed for commitments by developed nations to pay for their energy transition, either through direct government spending or through inexpensive access to new technology.

This summer, Gates pledged to spend $1 billion of his personal fortune on researching and deploying clean energy technology, but the people with knowledge of his plans said the new fund would include larger commitments.

In a blog post in July, Gates wrote: “If we create the right environment for innovation, we can accelerate the pace of progress, develop and deploy new solutions, and eventually provide everyone with reliable, affordable energy that is carbon free. We can avoid the worst climate-change scenarios while also lifting people out of poverty, growing food more efficiently and saving lives by reducing pollution.”

A group of 28 high-profile investors, led by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, will also announce a plan to provide support for risky, early-stage clean technology projects in the industrialized and developing world in order to boost the eventual deployment of such technologies.

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