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Bill Gates Leads $1B Fund to Invest in Clean Energy


FILE - Bill Gates in New York, Feb. 22, 2016.
FILE - Bill Gates in New York, Feb. 22, 2016.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and a group of high-profile executives are investing $1 billion in a fund to spur clean energy technology and address global climate change a year after the Paris climate agreement.

Gates launched the Breakthrough Energy Ventures fund on Monday along with billionaire entrepreneurs such as Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Chairman Jack Ma and chief Jeff Bezos.

The fund seeks to increase financing of emerging energy research and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to help meet goals set in Paris, according to a statement by the investor group known as the Breakthrough Energy Coalition.

It marked the first major investment of the coalition formed in December 2015 to spur research, development and deployment of clean energy technologies.

"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 told online magazine Quartz, according to excerpts of the interview published on Gates Notes.

Last year Gates helped launch a public-private partnership focused on scaling up investment in new and riskier clean technology that often faces steep hurdles to commercialization.

The election of Republican Donald Trump as U.S. President has raised questions about future government spending on clean energy research and development. Trump has called climate change a hoax invented by the Chinese but has also said he has an "open mind" on the issue.

"The dialogue with the new administration as it comes in about how they see energy research will be important...the general idea that research is a good deal fortunately is not a partisan thing," Gates told Quartz.

On a call with reporters Monday, Gates said coalition members would continue to push the message to Trump that "even if you don't look at the climate change piece of this, investing makes sense."

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