Paris: Twenty countries, including India, the US and China, yesterday launched an initiative to double their clean energy research and development budget over the next five years as part of global efforts to tackle climate change.

US President Barack Obama is greeted by world leaders as he arrives for a group photo at the CoP21 yesterday in Le Bourget, on the outskirts of Paris. Pic/AFP
US President Barack Obama is greeted by world leaders as he arrives for a group photo at the CoP21 yesterday in Le Bourget, on the outskirts of Paris. Pic/AFP

The total amount of money being committed by these 20 countries—under Mission Innovation—amount to $20 billion, about half of which would come from the US, White House officials said.

A formal announcement of the initiative was made at a meeting attended by US President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande along with other leaders from the private and public sector, a White House official told reporters before Obama left for Paris to attend the Conference of Parties (CoP) 21 climate summit.

Affordable energy
These additional resources will dramatically expand the new technologies that will define a future global power mix that is clean, affordable and reliable, the White House said. "This is an effort designed to accelerate clean energy innovation and address global climate change, provide affordable clean energy to consumers with a special focus on the developing world in creating commercial opportunities for creating clean energy in developing countries," top Obama adviser Brian Deese told reporters.

Other participating countries include France, Germany, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, the UAE and the UK. These 20 countries account for over 80% of global clean energy R&D.

Funds for clean energy
"One thing that we know clearly is that the investment in basic research in clean energy technologies needs to be connected to private capital that’s willing to deploy against the most promising of those technologies and help bring them to scale," Deese said.

Noting that individual countries will focus on clean energy efforts that suit their needs, like energy efficiency or reducing hydrofluorocarbons, US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in the US increase in funding, about 15% per year starting in 2017, would rely on Congress.

"There’s a lot of support for innovation," he said. In addition to Mission Innovation, another Breakthrough Energy Coalition will be launched simultaneously.