Global clean energy initiative launched at COP21

FRANCE: The UK, the US and France are among 20 countries and 29 venture capitalists to promise to double spending on clean energy innovation over the next five years as part of an international government-business initiative.

Political and business leaders at the Mission Innovation launch event at the COP21 talks in Paris

The initiative, known as Mission Innovation, aims to speed up green energy innovation by investing public and private money in clean energy projects. 

It was launched at the COP21 UN climate summit on 30 November by UK prime minister David Cameron, US and French presidents Barack Obama and Francois Hollande, president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, 16 other heads of state and the 29 venture capitalists, led by Bill Gates.

Together they account for 75% of global emissions and more than 80% of clean energy investment.

As well as doubling clean energy innovation spending, participants will collaborate more on "transformational projects".

The COP21 negotiations are taking place in Paris, France, between 30 November and 11 December. 

The UK's energy and climate change department said the country expects to invest "in excess of £400 million (€569 million) in relevant projects" in 2020/21, adding that "these plans build on last week's UK spending review announcement of a doubling of funding for the UK's domestic energy innovation programme".

"The costs of low-carbon technology have fallen significantly in recent years — the costs of solar alone are down 80% since 2008 — but more must be done to drive the costs down further to enable countries to raise their mitigation ambition in the future," said UK energy minister Amber Rudd at the launch of the initiative.

Rudd also said the UK programmes would include support for "early stage, disruptive ideas through to partnerships with private-sector investors to test and prove new technologies in real-world applications".