Several business leaders have pooled more than $7 billion to spur global private sector investment in clean energy.
Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Virgin founder Richard Branson, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma have all announced they are launching the Breakthrough Energy Coalition ahead of the COP21 climate change conference in Paris.
Gates also announced a separate clean energy program in Paris with President Barack Obama known as Mission Innovation, which aims to double public investments in energy research over the next five years from $10 billion to $20 million, according to The Washington Post.
The Breakthrough Energy Coalition will work with countries participating in Mission Innovation to facilitate funding for research and will focus its investments on early stage companies that produce near zero carbon emissions.
Solar Energy Industries Association President and Chief Executive Officer Rhone Resch said the announcement is a great start for the clean energy industry.
“While it’s clear that more needs to be done to tackle the world’s global warming challenge, the formation of this clean technology fund sends an irrefutable message that use of zero carbon energy sources, such as solar energy, must be the norm if we are to take meaningful steps to halt rising temperatures,” Resch said.