Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Others Join Forces To Form Clean Energy Coalition

[DIGEST: CNN, Science Alert, Fortune, Slate]

Bill Gates is investing in clean energy. He’s joining up with nearly 30 other billionaires, from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to Virgin Group’s Richard Branson, to form a new clean energy investment group. Their goal: a world where clean energy is not more expensive than today’s hydrocarbon energy.

Gates’s initiative, called the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, was announced at this month’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. The coalition will fund early-stage companies that are working on new technology to make clean energy available to everyone.

President Obama, French President François Hollande and Bill Gates in the Paris. Credit: Source. Credit: Source.

While there have been some advances in zero-carbon technology, energy companies tend to under-invest in new energy solutions. Research into energy technology can take decades to play out, with little reward for investors. By comparison, pharmaceutical companies can know within a couple of years whether their research and development investments will pay off.

The Breakthrough Energy Coalition hopes to reduce the risks associated with funding R&D by forming private-public partnerships to support a wide variety of energy innovations. The coalition will make investments across an array of sectors, including electricity generation and storage, transportation, industrial use, agriculture and energy system efficiency. This investment strategy will give a variety of creative but yet unproven energy solutions a chance to succeed.  Once the investments are de-risked, Gates expects that other private entities will invest in later stages.

“The renewable technologies we have today, like wind and solar, have made a lot of progress and could be one path to a zero-carbon energy future. But given the 

To read more, continue to the next page.

scale of the challenge, we need to be exploring many different paths - and that means we also need to invent new approaches,” Gates wrote in a statement.

Gates believes that he and his group of billionaire investors will not only see a financial gain on their investments, but that these investments will reduce our heavy dependence on fossil fuels. Gates wrote that zero-carbon energy “will make most countries energy-independent, stabilize prices, and provide low- and middle-income countries the resources they need to develop their economies and help more people escape poverty—all while keeping global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees.”

The debut of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition came at the same time as a major announcement from nineteen governments, including China and the U.S., which have pledged to double spending on carbon-free energy development over the next five years in a program called “Mission Innovation.”

Credit: Source.

Together, both programs could ensure more than $7 billion in additional funding for energy innovations.

The new Gates initiative is not without its critics. Fortune Magazine saw the announcement as premature because none of the key details have been hammered out. The Coalition has not yet 

To read more, continue to the next page.

identified or hired any investment staff or other professionals. No contracts have been signed and it is not clear how the fund will be structured. Fortune fears that the “grandiose announcement” might just be “all talk”-- other than Gates, none of the billionaires who have signed on to the coalition have promised any specific amount of money.

Despite these criticisms, the fact that so many of the world’s most successful businesspeople are willing to sign on may be an indication that funding clean energy R&D is not just a public good, but a smart investment. That’s good news for the clean energy industry, which could benefit from a new infusion of funds from motivated sources.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images // Alex Wong/Getty Images

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman was one of the first witnesses in the House of Representatives' initial impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Vindman testified before the House's select committee on impeachment late last year after hearing Trump's infamous July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Keep reading...
Alex Wong/Getty Images

The administration of President Donald Trump relies on its white Evangelical base to keep its support consistently hovering around 40 percent.

In keeping with this, President Donald Trump often invokes anti-abortion values he claims to hold dear. He's falsely claimed that Democrats are determined to rip babies from their mothers' wombs and that parents often discuss with their doctors whether or not to keep the baby...after the baby is born.

These claims are patently false, but they rile up the base.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos seems to be playing right along in promoting abortion hysteria, if a recent speech is any indication.

Keep reading...
Fox News

After hours of evidence presented by the House Impeachment managers in the Senate trial against President Donald Trump, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) strayed even further into the abyss of fanaticism as he defended the President to reporters.

Graham, a Trump critic turned ally, didn't attempt to refute any of the myriad evidence laid out by Democrats, but instead dismissed the claims that Trump did anything wrong when he withheld congressionally approved aid from Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into his political rival.

Keep reading...
ABC News

Earlier this month, Iran launched retaliatory air strikes against Iraqi military bases where U.S. soldiers were stationed after President Donald Trump made the choice to kill top Iranian military official Qasem Soleimani.

After initial alarm, Americans breathed a sigh of relief upon learning that there were no reported casualties resulting from the attack.

Keep reading...
JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images // Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President Donald Trump seems determined to use the Presidency to turn a profit while in office.

Just weeks after national outcry forced him to withdraw his efforts to hold the massive 2020 G7 Summit of world leaders at his own Trump Doral Resort in Miami, Trump will soon address the Republican National Committee there for its winter meeting.

And the prices just went up.

Keep reading...

As his impeachment trial in the Senate commenced across the pond, President Donald Trump attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Attending the forum as his advisor was eldest daughter Ivanka Trump, who made clear to CNN's Jim Acosta that she didn't want to acknowledge the case Democratic House impeachment managers were making in their case against her father.

Keep reading...