Hope is in short supply following the US presidental election of climate change denier and fossil fuel industry ally Donald Trump. Perhaps it will take another billionaire to trump Trump and save the environment. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has stepped up to the plate on behalf of the planet, announcing on Monday the launch of a more than $1 billion fund to fight climate change by investing in clean energy innovation. The Breakthrough Energy Ventures fund will begin making investments next year in technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in electricity, transportation, agriculture, manufacturing and buildings. The fund will last for 20 years.
“We need affordable and reliable energy that doesn’t emit greenhouse gas to power the future — and to get it, we need a different model for investing in good ideas and moving them from the lab to the market,” Gates wrote in a post on his Gates Notes blog.
Gates is joined in the venture by investors collectively worth nearly $170 billion, according to estimates by Bloomberg and Forbes. Directors of BEV include Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon; Michael Bloomberg, CEO of Bloomberg LP; Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group; Tom Steyer, president of NextGen Climate; Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise; and Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan, CEO of The Primary School.
In an interview with MIT Technology Review earlier this year, Gates said that launching the clean energy fund is part of an effort to achieve net zero carbon emissions in the developed world by 2050 in order to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius to avoid catastrophic climate change. That task just became much tougher with the election of Trump — and more urgent.