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November 28, 2015

Bill Gates to lead historic, multibillion dollar clean energy partnership

Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist plans major announcement to coincide with U.N. Climate Conference

Microsoft co-founder and global philanthropist Bill Gates will unveil a multibillion-dollar clean energy partnership Monday that is expected to be one of the largest in history, with a focus on researching and deploying new sources of carbon-free energy.

Gates will join world leaders and investors in Paris for the annual U.N. Climate Summit, where the announcement will come alongside landmark climate change negotiations, according to ClimateWire.

Government and business officials familiar with the plan said it will center around a coalition of developing and developed countries, including the United States and India, who will pledge to double their research and development budgets to pursue clean energy.

In tandem with the coalition, Gates and other billionaire investors plan to provide a pool of money amounting to billions of dollars for cooperative research. The plan comes after Gates announced in August that he would invest $1 billion toward renewable energy over the next five years.

In a 2010 TED talk, Gates elaborated on his goal to foster zero-carbon global emissions by 2045. While the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation primarily works to alleviate global poverty, Gates explained in July that climate change has a direct impact on that mission.

I think this issue is especially important because, of all the people who will be affected by climate change, those in poor countries will suffer the most. Higher temperatures and less-predictable weather would hurt poor farmers, most of whom live on the edge and can be devastated by a single bad crop. Food supplies could decline. Hunger and malnutrition could rise. It would be a terrible injustice to let climate change undo any of the past half-century’s progress against poverty and disease—and doubly unfair because the people who will be hurt the most are the ones doing the least to cause the problem.

Gates has urged investment over the next half-decade to empower major breakthroughs in solar, wind and nuclear technologies. The United States currently commits about $5 billion annually to energy research and development. Apart from India, it was not clear ahead of Monday's announcement which other countries will participate in the coalition.

The initiative is expected to build momentum for the U.N. climate negotiations in Paris, easing concerns about financing future commitments among developing countries whose clean energy targets have been hampered by fiscal constraints.

Watch Bill Gates discuss clean energy technology in his 2010 'Innovating to Zero' TED talk below.