By Alex Nussbaum, Bloomberg News (TNS)
NEW YORK — Bill Gates, the world’s richest man, and fellow philanthropists on Monday will announce a multibillion-dollar fund for clean-energy technology to combat climate change, according to an environmental group briefed on the announcement.
The effort, described as the biggest clean-energy research commitment ever, is intended to boost United Nations talks on climate change this week in Paris, said Jake Schmidt, international program director at New York-based Natural Resources Defense Council. He was briefed on the partnership by U.S. and French government officials.
It’s expected to involve Gates, co-founder of Microsoft Corp., and other wealthy philanthropists committing money to support new research and development, he said. They will collaborate with research programs in the U.S., India and about 10 other countries. The U.S. may commit to doubling funding for clean-energy research and other countries may also increase their support, Schmidt said.
“There’s going to have to be a number of things set in motion in the coming years to put us on that trajectory,” Schmidt said Sunday. “We know we’re going to have to drive down the costs of technology deployment and maybe even create some new technologies.”
More than 140 world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama and Xi Jinping of China, will meet in Paris for talks aimed at producing an agreement that for the first time binds all nations, rich and poor, to cutting pollution from burning coal, oil and gas that’s blamed for a rise in global temperatures. Convincing developing nations of the merits of phasing out fossil fuel remains a sticking point in the negotiations.
“The idea is to show that these countries and these entrepreneurs are going to step up their effort to help speed up the kinds of emissions cuts we’re going to need,” Schmidt said.
The partnership and Gates’ role was first reported Friday by the online news organization ClimateWire.
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Photo: Bill Gates is the world’s richest man. AFP.com/ Eric Piermont