Davos: Extension of a coalition to decarbonize the economy

US billionaire Bill Gates noted that many “green” products are now costing more, “and the way to get rid of that is to scale up production.” (Photo: 123RF)

DAVOS – US Climate Commissioner John Kerry announced in Davos on Wednesday the expansion of a coalition of companies and countries committed to funding technologies to decarbonize the economy, under the auspices of the Economic Forum World (WEF).

“Today, the First Movers Coalition is growing from 35 companies at the beginning (…) to 55 companies, with the addition of large corporations,” said Kerry, naming in particular the car manufacturer Ford or the transport company FedEx.

During a press conference in Davos, where the WEF is organizing its annual meeting this week, the American envoy also listed a number of countries joining the group, including Sweden, India, Japan, Norway, Italy, Britain, Singapore and Denmark.

“The First Movers Coalition is now mobilizing tremendous purchasing power to encourage investment in new technologies,” he said, comparing it to a procurement strategy that allowed the US government to stop COVID-19 vaccine development or private spaceflight to support.

US billionaire Bill Gates noted that many “green” products are now costing more, “and the way to get rid of that is to scale up production.”

He cited solar panels or lithium-ion batteries as examples, but said other technologies could also benefit from widespread adoption, including hydrogen-based energy.

“A combination of measures, including tax credits, private sector demand, small companies that have good ideas working together with those who are willing to buy them… That’s the way to go,” he asserts.

Specifically, Google has pledged $200 million for carbon capture, according to its chief financial officer, Ruth Porat, which is the hard core of the company’s commitments over the coming decade totaling more than $900 million.

“We have seen that clarity and certainty about demand catalyzes growth in markets,” she commented.

Swedish Finance Minister Mikael Damberg has revealed his country’s ambition to become “the world’s first fossil-free welfare state”, citing in particular a pilot hydrogen steel mill.

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