Bill Gates has made another pledge to invest $1.5 billion this time on a joint climate change project with the US Department of Energy (DOE). However, that is to happen under the condition that lawmakers approve a program for developing new technologies in this space.
On August 10th, the US Senate passed a $1 trillion infrastructure spending bill with overwhelming bipartisan support. The bill includes $100 billion for addressing climate change and part of this funding is $25 billion dedicated to the DOE for climate change demonstration projects backed by public-private partnerships.
The next step for the legislation is to get the approval of the House. Gates has promised the $1.5 billion to come from the Breakthrough Energy climate change fund, spread over three years.
The Microsoft co-founder also hopes that other investors will get involved and the total investment would come to $15 billion for DOE-supported projects that will aim to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
“Avoiding a climate disaster will require a new industrial revolution. We need to make the technologies and products that don’t cause emissions as cheap as those that do, reducing what I call Green Premiums, so the whole world can afford them and reach our climate goals,” said Gates in a statement.
Climate Change Project Examples
The climate change projects supported by DOE and Breakthrough Energy are expected to include emissions-free fuel for planes and carbon removal innovations like carbon capture from the air, long-duration energy storage, and other groundbreaking climate change solutions.
Gates has also supported a nuclear power company called TerraPower that won $80 million in funding from the DOE’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program in October 2020. That funding is set to go for building a next-generation nuclear power plant in Wyoming on the site of a retiring coal plant.
Gates has shown commitment towards nuclear power innovation as it has lobbied Congress for years to engage in public-private partnerships to boost such projects.
The climate change investment by one of the most influential people in the world shows the urgency of tackling the global warming problem. Government participation and leadership in nascent carbon dioxide removal technologies are also critical to boosting their large-scale deployment as they still remain risky for the private sector.