The Breakthrough Energy Coalition hopes to inspire and, more importantly, fund start-up companies that are developing technology to tackle climate change. The coalition also hopes to challenge the stagnant model of separate public versus private development and start a new paradigm where governments, businesses, and researchers can all collaborate and benefit together.
On their website, they say: “The existing system of basic research, clean energy investment, regulatory frameworks, and subsidies fails to sufficiently mobilize investment in truly transformative energy solutions for the future. We can’t wait for the system to change through normal cycles.
“Experience indicates that even the most promising ideas face daunting commercialization challenges and a nearly impassable Valley of Death between promising concept and viable product, which neither government funding nor conventional private investment can bridge.
“This collective failure can be addressed, in part, by a dramatically scaled-up public research pipeline, linked to a different kind of private investor with a long term commitment to new technologies who is willing to put truly patient flexible risk capital to work.”
Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg announced the plan through a Facebook post on Sunday. By no coincidence, the announcement coincides with the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris this week. The group of billionaire super-geeks hope to add pressure and inspire the talks, stressing that addressing climate change can't just come from governmental funding and law alone, but aslo through innovation, investment and business.