The happiest news for me from The Week That Was: Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and 27 other billionaires launch Breakthrough Energy Coalition fund to address climate change.
And the reason for their action: because government research is “not enough”
… the last internal combustion engine is placed in a museum, as the effects of climate change reverse and diminish— Neil deGrasse Tyson; Cosmos
These topics had always been on my mind, especially after watching Cosmos’ episode “The World Set Free” – which throws light on how Global Warming threatens civilization as we know it. That particular episode ended with a great note stating that only technology can diminish and/or reverse the effects that we have done unto the planet.
The Breakthrough Energy Coalition Fund comes as a breath of fresh air and a step in the right direction. It promises to ‘invest boldy and wisely’ into clean, sustainable energy. Gates had announced that he would invest $1 billion of his private fortune in clean energy (high risk breakthrough energy companies) over the next five years.
Gates has long made the argument that “today’s tools” are incapable of slashing emissions. He scoffs at technologies like rooftop solar – they’re “cute” and “uneconomic.” The costs of relying on them, he claims, would be “beyond astronomical.”
Bill Gates is joined by Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Richard Branson (Virgin Group), Jack Ma (Alibaba), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Ratan Tata (Tata), Marc Benioff (salesforce.com), Mukesh Ambani (Reliance) and other billionaires from 10 countries in the coalition.
Today, renewables account for less than 5% of the world’s energy mix. It took four decades for oil to go from 5% of the world’s energy supply to 25%. Natural gas took even longer. I believe we can make this transition faster—both because the pace of innovation is accelerating, and because we have never had such an urgent reason to move from one source of energy to another. The sooner we start, the more suffering we can prevent.
Gates also has a reasonable stand when asked about developing countries
It’s unprecedented to move this quickly, to change an infrastructure of this scale—it’s really unprecedented. And, when you turn to India and say, “Please cut your carbon emissions, and do it with energy that’s really expensive, subsidized energy,” that’s really putting them in a tough position, because energy for them means a kid can read at night, or having an air conditioner or a refrigerator, or being able to eat fresh foods, or get to your job, or buy fertilizer.
Unfortunately, even if we could roll out the ideal zero-carbon solution tomorrow, some climate change is inevitable, and it will hit the world’s poor the hardest. The countries that have done the most to cause this problem have a responsibility to not only invest in mitigation, but also help poor countries adapt to a changing climate.
Quartz: Bill Gates: Why I’m investing $1 billion of my own money into clean energy research
Independent: Paris climate change talks: Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and 27 other billionaires launch Breakthrough Energy Coalition fund to stop climate change
The Guardian: Will Bill Gates and his billionaire friends save the planet?
Official Website: Breakthrough Energy Coalition
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