More nations pledge to investments on renewable energy

US President Obama will join 18 other country leaders on Monday to pledge commitment to double their investment in renewable energy technology by 2020.

The 19 nations will join a separate private sector effort led by Bill Gates that aims to help catalyze a major international climate agreement at a UN climate summit in, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Obama and French President Francois Hollande are expected to announce the so-called Mission Innovation initiative, which the White House said will be a critical step toward limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.

The participating nations – which will include major carbon emitters like the United States as well as China and India — currently invest $10 billion in research and development for new technologies, said the report.

The U.S. accounts for half of that sum through various programs across the government, many centered at the Department of Energy, said LA Times.

The new financial commitment will be supplemented by an initiative led by Gates called the Breakthrough Energy Coalition that aims to commit the private sector to help spread clean energy technologies, particularly through the developing world

The private sector coalition includes major tech industry figures like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon’s Jeffrey Bezos, as well as former California gubernatorial hopeful Meg Whitman, now chair of Hewlett Packard, and Democratic donor and environmental activist Tom Steyer.

“I think there is a universal recognition that we need to do more to ensure that we are investing in clean energy technology so that we can continue to drive the type of innovation that is really going to drive down costs to make these technologies deployable across the developing world,” White House senior advisor Brian Deese told reporters Sunday in previewing the proposal.

“This announcement, both in terms of its scale in terms of the magnitude of the R&D that will be increased by the public sector as a result of this effort and the commitment that’s being demonstrated by the Breakthrough Energy Coalition of their willingness to deploy private capital, should send a very strong signal.”

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