Catching up with Bill Gates on climate change

Richard Branson with Bill Gates
Image by Tania Steere
Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 13 December 2017

Thrilled to catch up with Bill Gates in Paris. Bill was in France to announce the wonderful news at the One Planet Summit that the Breakthrough Energy Coalition (BEC) is expanding.  

As a partner in the project, I agree with Bill that it has never been more pressing to find clean energy innovations that can change the world.

The Coalition is important because it brings together government-funded research with interested investors so more clean energy innovations can get to the market quicker. Bill leads the Coalition and the Breakthrough Energy Fund, which will invest more than $1 billion in next generation energy technologies.

We also sat down with Dan Roth from LinkedIn and chatted about the devastation that the hurricanes have caused to the British Virgin Islands. Bill and his wonderful wife Melinda have visited Necker Island and we spoke about how climate change will only bring more and more extreme weather events. But rather than focusing on the negatives, we agreed it must spur us on to speed up the work we’re doing to combat climate change and make everything more resilient.

It’s so important that we keep working to find ways to innovate and scale up clean energy solutions. There are so many exciting projects such as battery technology, breakthroughs in wind technology, floating windmills, and the prices of solar energy coming down to be cheaper than coal.

Bill and I spoke about the importance backing long-shot projects – not all ideas will work but if we back enough of them, then the more likely it is that there will be a handful that can have a huge impact. Watch a video of our conversation on LinkedIn.

I’ve learned so much from Bill. He built a formidable company and decided to put his vast wealth into solving the problems of the world. I have an incredible amount of respect for the work that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation do.

I believe that we can truly achieve great things when we all come together.