Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, is in the list of billionaires who engage in projects focused on environmental issues, and he is certainly not alone. As part of the United Nations’ climate talks in Paris (November 30 to December 11, 2015), Gates will announce the creation of a multibillion-dollar clean energy fund allocated for the development of and research on clean energy. Together with Gates, developed and developing nations will launch the Clean Tech Initiative. Countries will pledge that by 2020, they will double their budget and research on the development of clean technology. Private companies will also increase their investments in the clean energy fund.
Aside from Gates, there are 792 more billionaires in the world. Their focus and impact on philanthropy vary from the creation of sustainable and renewable energy, the construction of green cities, to the conservation of species, all of which are part of the fight against climate change.
Also, Richard Branson, the Chief Executive of the Virgin Group, and allots much of his time to Virgin Unite which has an initiative devoted to fighting carbon dioxide emissions. Earlier this year, Branson announced the launch of the Green Capital Global Challenge in order to increase energy efficiency. This program will last for 10 years within 10 cities. The Virgin Group CEO also promised that all profits from Virgin Transportation from 2006 to 2016 will go to the development of green energy. This pledge is estimated at about $3 billion, experts said.
George Soros founded the Climate Policy Initiative, an environmental watchdog group based in San Francisco, in 2009. The group will receive about $100 million over the next 10 years from Soros. He also pledged about $1 billion at the Copenhagen Climate Conference in 2014 for the creation of clean energy sources.
Jeff Skoll is the former president of eBay. He founded a film company called Participant Media, which focuses on producing socially-conscious documentaries and films, paired with social movements to encourage viewers to make a difference and participate. Among the roster of films the company has produced are “The Cove,” Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” “Food Inc.” and “Syriana.” The Skoll Foundation has also handed out grants to 72 social entrepreneurs, now amounting to $40 million. The organization aims to create a sustainable future through social entrepreneurship. The group focuses on issues such as water scarcity, nuclear proliferation, climate change, and pandemics.
Michael Bloomberg was the mayor of New York City for three consecutive terms. In 2007, he vowed to make NYC environmentally sustainable by greening all the buildings within the city. Two years later, Bloomberg launched a $20 million environmental makeover of the Empire State Building. All the windows of the building will be replaced with triple-glazed glass which will result to energy savings of about 83 percent. Bloomberg has also contributed about $235 million to support and promote the environment, public health, and education initiatives.
2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21)
On Nov. 30 to Dec. 11, 2015 world leaders and social entrepreneurs will meet in Paris to negotiate a global climate agreement that will enable nations to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius. More than 190 countries will participate in the event.