Bill Gates will announce the creation of a multibillion-dollar clean energy fund on Monday at the opening of a Paris summit meeting intended to forge a global accord to cut planet-warming emissions, according to people with knowledge of the plans.
The fund 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 and other participating nations to double their 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.
In July, Mr. 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.”
Scientists generally agree that preventing the worst effects of climate change requires limiting the temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius, and that doing so requires the biggest emitters to cut emissions 80 percent by 2050 and all countries to essentially eliminate them by the end of the century. Unfortunately, while we can make progress with today’s tools, they cannot get us to an 80 percent reduction, much less 100 percent. To work at scale, current wind and solar technologies need backup energy sources—which means fossil fuels—for windless days, long periods of cloudy weather, and nighttime. They also require much more space; for example, to provide as much power as a coal-fired plant, a wind farm needs more than 10 times as much land.
These are solvable problems. 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.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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