Bill Gates and top investors want to fight climate change with $1bn cleantech fund

Lynsey Barber
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Climate Change And Global Pollution To Be Discussed At Copenhagen Summit
Bill Gates has moved forward with his energy fund plans (Source: Getty)

Bill Gates and several other top investors are planning to launch a billion dollar fund to plough into companies innovating in the energy space in the fight against climate change.

The Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) fund is also backed by venture capitalists John Doerr and Vinod Khosla of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Khosla Ventures, respectively.

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Billionaire ex-hedge fund manager John Arnold is also confirmed as a backer, while the extent of other top business leader's roles in the fund and who are part of Breakthrough Energy's coalition, have yet to be revealed.

They include Alibaba entrepreneur Jack Ma, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Marc Beniofff of Salesforce, Richard Branson, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and billionaire fund manager George Soros.

“Anything that leads to cheap, clean, reliable energy we’re open-minded to," Gates told Quartz.

More details about the fund are due to be revealed by the group later today, but it said ahead of the announcement: "Breakthrough Energy Ventures, an investor-led fund, will finance emerging energy breakthroughs that can deliver affordable and reliable zero carbon emissions."

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In a note from the group called "the landscape of innovation" it identified several areas, or "grand challenges". They include electricity, transport, agriculture, manufacturing and buildings.

It also indicated the investment would sit alongside public investment and research in areas such as ultra-low cost solar power and thermal storage and "technology solutions that eliminate the need for travel".

Gates, the billionaire founder of Microsoft and a philanthropist, has been vocal about his concerns about a coming energy crisis and last year attended the Paris climate change talks with US President Barack Obama where he first teased the energy fund.

The political climate has changed since then, however. President-elect Donald Trump said in an interview on Sunday evening that "nobody really knows" if climate change is real. That is a concession on the subject for the businessman turned politician, having previously denied that climate change is man made and calling it a hoax, depsite scientific evidence to the contrary.

Here's Gates talking energy this time last year...

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