At the launch of the pivotal international climate talks in Paris, President Obama, Bill Gates and other world leaders announced two new initiatives to accelerate clean energy innovation and combat climate change. Through the first initiative, "Mission Innovation," twenty countries committed to double government investment in clean energy research over the next five years. For the United States, that means doubling its current investment in clean energy research and development to over $10 billion by 2020. Other countries committed to doubling their clean energy budgets over the same time frame include India, Canada, Germany, and Mexico. Together, all 20 countries represent over 80% of global clean energy research and development budgets.
The second initiative, the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, is spearheaded by Bill Gates and a group of global investors to help transform clean energy research into commercial technologies. The coalition will help funnel billions of dollars of early investment into clean energy technologies that have high potential to bring affordable clean energy to a large number of people with minimal environmental impact. So far, 28 investors from 10 countries have joined the coalition, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon founder Mark Bezos, and the coalition is only planning to grow stronger.
These two initiatives form a powerful public-private alliance that demonstrates success in addressing climate change will depend on a new model of collaboration among governments, research institutions, investors, and others. Together, they form the largest cooperative clean energy research and development endeavor in history.
The Paris climate conference will serve as a launch pad for over 50 other transformative initiatives involving cities, business, investors, civil society - as well as national governments. The so-called "Action Agenda" will showcase the powerful momentum for climate action being generated from leaders across all walks of society.
As these two clean energy initiatives demonstrate and those to be announced through the Action Agenda in the coming days only reinforce, the transition to a clean energy future is accelerating and coming up fast.