February 10, 2015 / 7:11 PM / 5 years ago

Obama looks to raise $2 billion in climate change investments

A view of the lake formed by meltwater from the Pastoruri glacier, as seen from atop the glacier in Huaraz, Peru, September 19, 2013. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration on Tuesday set a goal of raising $2 billion in philanthropic investments to fight climate change, including technologies to slash carbon emissions.

The Clean Energy Investment Initiative is seeking investments to try to bridge the “valley of death” - the gap in funding between research and development and commercialization that holds back many clean-energy startup companies - said Brian Deese, deputy director at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.

The plan requires no additional U.S. taxpayer money but uses “the convening power and technical know-how of the Department of Energy,” said Deese, who announced the plan at an Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) annual conference, outside Washington. ARPA-E is an Energy Department office funding projects that have potential to revolutionize energy markets but are too risky for the private sector to invest in initially.

President Barack Obama has made fighting climate change one of his top priorities. His administration will finalize first-ever U.S. rules to slow carbon emissions from power plants this summer.

Several groups have already made commitments to the initiative, according to a White House fact sheet. For example, the University of California’s Board of Regents will allocate at least $1 billion of its endowment and pension over five years for investments in solutions to climate change.

As part of the plan, the White House will host a Clean Energy Investment Summit in coming months, as a forum for foundations and institutional investors to scale up investment in renewable energy innovation.

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