Posted 14 hours ago by Catherine Shu (@catherineshu )
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The founders of Facebook and Microsoft are teaming up to solve climate change. Mark Zuckerberg announced today that he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have launched the Breakthrough Energy Coalition with Bill Gates to invest in zero-carbon energy technology around the world. The organization’s membership roster includes some of the most prolific names in technology, including Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma, and Masayoshi Son.
The news was timed to coincide with the U.N. Climate Control Conference , which will take place in Paris this week. During the event, Gates and U.S. President Barack Obama are expected to unveil a significant new initiative called Mission Innovation, which will work with governments to double public investments in energy research over the next five years.
According to the Washington Post , the 19 countries that have already joined Mission Innovation will increase their annual spending on clean-energy research and development to $20 billion by 2020.
Mission Innovation and the Breakthrough Energy Coalition are separate programs, but will work closely together in countries that have committed to reducing carbon emissions.
On its website, the Breakthrough Energy Coalition explains that its goal is to cover gaps in government funding in countries by commercializing the most promising and scalable ideas to come out of public research institutions. It will take a flexible attitude toward investments, providing early-stage to Series A funding in several sectors, including electricity generation and storage, transportation, industrial use, agriculture, and energy system efficiency.