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David Attenborough backs international plan to uncover clean energy

Renowned naturalist David Attenborough has called on nations to invest in an international programme to discover breakthrough, clean technologies before the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December.

A letter published today, signed by twenty-seven scientists, executives, academics and politicians, asks all major countries to adopt the Global Apollo Program (GAP) for internationally coordinated research, development and demonstration into renewable energy technology.

The signatories argue that a sensible approach to tackling climate change will not only pay for itself but provide economic benefits to the nations of the world.

The GAP plan was proposed in June by a group of scientists, economists and energy experts including British economist and academic Nicholas Stern, economist Richard Layard and the Foreign Secretary’s special representative for climate change Sir David King.

The letter comes at the same time as a video from Sir David, in which he calls on “the finest minds on the planet to unite” to address global warming in the same way scientists in the 1960s overcame immense odds to complete the Apollo mission to the moon.

All the electricity that we now require is available from limitless sources like wind and solar,” Sir David said. “The sun delivers five thousand times more energy to the earth’s surface than humanity needs but renewable energy is intermittent – the sun doesn’t always shine, the wind sometimes drops – so we must find better ways of storing the energy and carrying it long distances to where it is needed.”

The aspiration of the program is to make renewable energy cheaper than fossil fuels by increasing government spending on research to at least £10bn a year globally for the next 10 years.

Letter published on 16 September, 2015

We the undersigned believe that global warming can be addressed without adding significant economic costs or burdening taxpayers with more debt.

A sensible approach to tackling climate change will not only pay for itself but provide economic benefits to the nations of the world.

The aspiration of the Global Apollo Program is to make renewable energy cheaper than coal within 10 years. We urge the leading nations of the world to commit to this positive, practical initiative by the Paris climate conference in December.

The plan requires leading governments to invest a total of at least $15 billion a year in research, development and demonstration of clean energy.

That compares to the $100 billion currently invested in defence R&D globally each year.

Public investment now will save governments huge sums in the future.

What is more, a coordinated R&D plan can help bring energy bills down for billions of consumers.

Renewable energy gets less than 2% of publicly funded R&D. The private sector spends relatively small sums on clean energy research and development.

Just as with the Apollo space missions of the 1960s, great scientific minds must now be assembled to find a solution to one of the biggest challenges we face.

Please support the Global Apollo Program – the world’s 10 year plan for cheaper, cleaner energy.

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