July 22, 2019
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Gates expects investment in climate innovation fund to reach $2.5 bn by 2021

Washington, Jun 24 (efe-epa).- Microsoft founder Bill Gates said here Monday that he expects the fund he established to invest in energy solutions to climate change to reach $2.5 billion by the end of 2020.

Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) began with $1 billion, including $250 million from Gates.

"Late next year, we'll probably raise another $1 billion to $1.5 billion," the world's second-richest person said during a conversation with David Rubenstein at the Economic Club of Washington, DC.

"This is all about innovation, broadly defined, we need to make these dramatic changes," Gates said.

Founded in 2016, BEV boasts 22 investors, including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos - No. 1 on the Forbes billionaires list - and Saudi Prince Al Walid Bin Talal.

"We do expect to make a profit out of that fund," Gates said, emphasizing that BEV is not a philanthropic undertaking, but rather an attempt to foster companies "that have a chance of reducing greenhouse gases by half-a-percent, each company."

"Climate change is a problem that gets worse every year, and yet what you have to do on a global basis is very dramatic in reshaping the entire physical economy that we have," he said.

"The greatest suffering from climate change will be farmers in poor countries - that is, the drought, the floods, the heat - will cause the problems we already have, of malnutrition, of deprivation, to get substantially worse," Gates said.

Asked about the mindset of people who deny the reality of climate change, he said, "they must not have taken enough science courses."

He said that any serious effort to combat climate change would require the participation of the United States and expressed regret over President Donald Trump's decision to disavow the 2015 Paris Agreement on addressing the threat.

Gates demurred, however, when Rubinstein suggested he would be the best person to persuade Trump to reverse the decision.

"Someone else should" convince the president of the wisdom of returning to the Paris Agreement, Gates said, noting the necessity of creating a broad consensus in the US on measures to cope with climate change.

"We'll need a bipartisan solution because ... the key is what people see the policies will be over the next 30 years," he said.

Gates expressed enthusiasm for the development of electric vehicles as a way to reduce greenhouse emissions, though he cautioned that the technology used for electric passenger cars would not work for trucks, aircraft and sea vessels.

"There's almost no chance the batteries will be good enough and so there, you'll still need to create liquid fuels, either with electricity or biofuels," he said.

Last October, BEV signed an agreement with the European Commission to create a new 1 billion euro ($114 billion) fund to foster energy transition in Europe. EFE

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