Within the past week, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates announced a billion-dollar fund to invest in energy development and research to reduce our emissions. Partnering with 19 other worldwide investors and the University of California system, Gates hopes to expand on current government research and act as a guarantee for future research even if the Trump administration halts government research. The concern of the Trump administration is completely valid, and while Donald Trump himself may have not said much about his exact opinions on energy research and development, other than climate change being a hoax, he has appointed cabinet members who very much reject climate science and are major advocates for the fossil fuel industry. The fund, titled Breakthrough Energy Ventures, will carry a lifespan of 15-20 years while focusing on electricity generation & storage, agriculture efficiency, and providing seed money for start-ups. While many details of this investment remain unclear, Gates asserts that a management team will be named within 3 months. Furthermore, amongst concerns of previous failed investment ventures, Gates reassured skeptics by explaining that the fund will utilize scientific expertise, “way more than any venture fund would have.” He reiterated his point by stating, “We’re going to have a very deep scientific team both at the companies itself and as our advisers.”
I find this to be a very comforting gesture from Bill Gates and other world investors. I believe this fund shows a commitment to climate change through the private sector, even in the wake of the public sector fallbacks. Trump has expressed his doubts in climate change and has reinforced commitments to the fossil fuel industries, both of which are problematic viewpoints since climate change is a science and we see that the fossil fuel industry leads to increased emissions and environmental degradation. Moreover, I hope this venture acts as a signal to the Trump administration, highlighting that this is an important issue that people care about enough to invest one billion dollars in. I believe by partnering with the University of California system, the Breakthrough Energy Venture will be able to research climate change and educate students on the environment and its importance for decades to come. I look forward to the research developed as a result of this fund and the solutions we can develop to ensure a sustainable future.