The US and 18 other countries have pledged to double funds for clean energy research to a total of $20bn over five years, boosting a parallel initiative by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg and increasing the prospects for successful agreement at the Paris climate negotiations that start on Monday.

The countries, which include the UK, Canada, China, Brazil, India and South Africa, span the biggest global economies and major emitters, oil and gas producers, and leaders in clean energy research, the White House said.

Tech and business leaders, including America’s Bill Gates, George Soros, Meg Whitman and Mark Zuckerberg, Germany’s Hasso Plattner, India’s Ratan Tata and China’s Jack Ma, will also pledge on Monday to take on additional investment risks to bring environmental technologies coming out of scientific research to the marketplace.

“This announcement should help to send a strong signal that the world is committed to helping to mobilise the resources necessary to ensure countries around world can deploy clean energy solutions in cost-effective ways in their economies,” said Brian Deese, a senior White House advisor.

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