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Founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft’s Bill Gates — alongside a group of 26 other powerful business leaders — have launched an initiative which seeks to fast track innovation around clean energy.
The Breakthrough Energy Coalition is made up of wealthy investors and tech influencers, including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Virgin Group’s Richard Branson, Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn and many more. It also includes South Africa’s Patrice Motsepe from African Rainbow Minerals and Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote of Dangote Group.
“Solving the clean energy problem is an essential part of building a better world,” Zuckerberg writes in an announcement.
According to The Washington Post, the group will “pool their money to provide early-stage capital for technologies that offer promise in bringing affordable clean energy to billions of people, especially in the developing world.”
The Breakthrough Energy Coalition is said to have a combined net worth of US$350-billion.
“We won’t be able to make meaningful progress on other challenges — like educating or connecting the world — without secure energy and a stable climate,” says Zuckerberg. “Yet progress towards a sustainable energy system is too slow, and the current system doesn’t encourage the kind of innovation that will get us there faster.”
The announcement comes at the same time the major COP21 convention is kicking off in Paris, rallying over 190 of the world’s political leaders around climate negotiations.
This week US President Barrack Obama and Gates are also expected to announce a new programme called Mission Innovation, which seeks to “accelerate public and private global clean energy innovation”. So far, 19 member countries are committed to double the amount of funding for clean energy research and development.