The world’s billionaires known for innovation, fueling economies and making our world ‘a better place’ have joined forces and are pouring millions of dollars to save the earth. Who’s who? Check these out.
Meet Modern Day Billionaire/Earth Heroes:
1. Bill Gates (Microsoft)
Co-founder Microsoft Corporation, American computer programmer, entrepreneur, philanthropist.
Net worth: US$89.3 billion (2017).
He’s already worked with the NASA on a Geo-engineering project, proposing a seawater-spraying machine that could form clouds to reflect sunlight away from the earth. [This machine could spray seawater over 3,000 feet into the air to increase cloud density. However, the project would need $7B to realize its cause.]
And just recently, Gates announced heading the Breakthrough Energy Venture Fund, a $1B fund focusing on reducing emissions and counteracting climate change.
He’s not alone! The world’s wealthiest business leaders and venture capitalists are with him. (Later, let’s find out who they are.)
Gates with the rest of the BEV aim at becoming the uniting and instrumental force in reducing greenhouse gases to ZERO by investing in technologies that reduce emissions in ‘electricity generation and storage, energy system efficiency and agriculture’ and collaborate with investors, research institutions and government to fund scientific researches.
“The leader needs to create an environment in which people can analyse the situation and develop a good response.” - Bill Gates
2. Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook)
Co-founder Facebook, philanthropists, entrepreneur, computer programmer.
- Net worth: US$73 billion (2017).
Zuckerberg is known for advocacies, not only in tech, but also in saving the environment, as obvious in this speech he addressed to Harvard graduates in May.
He also believes that pollution in one place could affect the world’s environment as a whole. And to understand and learn about one of the main causes of greenhouse gas emissions, he set out and visited North Dakota in July to learn about the controversial energy industry.Zuckerberg and other tech leaders launched the BEV in November 2015, bringing together well over 25 investors, based on an article published at UK Business Insider.
What’s their mission? To provide the world with access to everything they need, such as affordable and reliable food and services - without contributing to climate change.
“I believe stopping climate change is one of the most important challenges of our generation. Given that, I think it's even more important to learn about our energy industry, even if it's controversial.” - Mark Zuckerberg
3. John Doerr (Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers)
Chairman - Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, entrepreneur, venture capitalists, environment advocate.
Net worth: US$6.6 billion (2017).
John Doerr is a tech leader who fueled the success of Google, Amazon, Sun Microsystems and Compaq. Now, he’s focused is on “unmaking the greatest disaster of our time.”
His firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, has invested well over hundreds of millions of dollars to green technology start-ups, including companies developing solar power plants.
John (and Ann) Doerr are known in funding areas of the environment, homelessness, healthcare and education as well.
He joins the league of successful business leaders and venture capitalists in the BEV to finance the clean energy tech sector. When asked why the fund? Together with the rest, they believe that there are game-changing innovations, and that’s their job to find, fund and help to accelerate success.
“Green technologies - going green - is bigger than the Internet. It could be the biggest economic opportunity of the 21st century.” - John Doerr
4. Jack Ma (Alibaba)
- Founder and executive chairman - Alibaba Group, Chinese philosopher, business magnate, tech entrepreneur, philanthropist.
- Net worth: US$40.4 billion (2017).
An article published at Tech in Asia highlights the things that Ma thinks about the climate change problem.
He said that China’s business leaders are on the same page – recognizing that ‘environmental problem’ is a serious problem. Ma believes that the authorities, the media and business leaders must work together in solving the issue.
But just as how personal is pollution climate change for him? It is not a passion but a concern and worry, recounting an incident in his early life.
He almost drowned in a lake when he was 12 years old because it was too deep. Not when he revisited it a few years ago – the lake is now DRY.
“It's too late to complain about whose fault it is.” - Jack Ma
5. Vinod Khosla (Khosla Ventures)
- Indian-American businessman, engineer and venture capitalist, Co-founder of Sun Microsystems.
- Net worth: US$2.5 billion .
Khosla’s been a driving force in Silicon Valley’s investments into ‘clean technology’, and the movement or campaign in raising California oil’s tax. He believes that what was an earlier problem on ‘global warming has become a climate crises’ that we have to deal with.
In a related statement to the ‘Committee on Environment and Public Works’, Khosla said that the coal power’s immense carbon dioxide emissions and pollution ‘loom over the skies like a dark cloud.’ He said that such directly impacts healthcare costs – and health.
Citing, he noted that power plant pollution leads to 24,000 premature deaths annually, based on 2004 study published at the American Lung Association (ALA).
“I'm a fiscal hawk. I vote against all taxes, but I do believe the environment, and climate change, is a bigger issue than fiscal deficits are as a risk to the nation.” - Vinod Khosla
But private sectors and even the world’s deepest pockets might not be able to realize the goal by themselves. They could definitely use help of the government and other world leaders that came together with the mission of reducing emissions and its effects on climate change in the Paris Agreement (22 April 2016, same day as the Earth Day 2016).
Governments agreed of a long-term goal of keeping the rising average of global temperature to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
And with the best available science, they envision undertaking rapid reductions thereafter.
But the next decade will be critical if the world stick to the agreement, according to scientists.And as early as now, the world has to take action on the two ways of reducing carbon emissions – slashing man-made emissions and restoring carbon sinks.
[Brian Walsh, a World Bank consultant, and his team studied fossil fuels, food production, land use, bio energy, and agriculture and accounted for natural ecosystems to dig deeper and find out where carbon emissions come from and where they go.]
In order to realize goals, the study recommended reducing fossil fuel use (and dependence) to up to 25% of the global energy supply, and deforestation to achieve a 42% decrease in emissions by 2100.
Man’s battle to save the earth is still a long, long way to go. It is no easy undertaking and not a problem to solve in the next two decades either.
But while climate change is a significant cause and saving the earth from its destruction is many times taken as a farfetched idea, these billionaires are committed to investing in new energy technologies.
They aim to discover, fund and aid green businesses to grow and work with more than 20 countries to increase basic research investments, which could open doors for breakthrough ‘clean energy’ innovations.
Where are all these things taking us? Nothing is certain at this point. Truth be told, man’s quest to save the earth from destruction is still in its infancy stage. More has to be done, of course.
But at least, we’re heading that direction - thanks to the initiatives of these billionaires.
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