Global Apollo Programme

The Global Apollo Programme is a call for a major global science and economics research programme to make carbon-free baseload electricity less costly than electricity from coal by the year 2025.[1]

Inspiration and aims

Launched in June 2015, the project - named for the Apollo Program, which brought together thousands of scientists and engineers to put mankind on the moon - calls for developed nations to commit to spending 0.02% of their GDP, for 10 years, to fund co-ordinated research to solve the challenge. This equates to $150 billion over a decade, roughly the same cost committed to the Apollo Program in 2015 money.[2][3] Some developed nations, including the UK, already meet the GDP percentage target spend, but many do not and there is little international coordination to maximise the results.[1]

It has been modelled on the more recent International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors, an international research collaborative that is credited with greatly and swiftly improving the quality and economics of semiconductor manufacture.[4]

Key areas of focus

Key people

Launch report authors

The initiative is spearheaded by the chemist Professor Sir David King, former Government Chief Scientific Adviser to HM Government.[7] Amongst the Apollo group are economists Professor Lord Stern (author of The Stern Review) and Lord O'Donnell (former Cabinet Secretary), businessmen Lord Turner and Lord Browne (former Chief Executive of BP), cosmologist and astrophysicist Professor Lord Rees (former President of the Royal Society) and labour economist Lord Layard.[8]


The following were signatories on an open letter published to The Guardian newspaper, alongside the launch report authors, in September 2015.[9]

Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Professor of Sustainable Development and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University has separately publicly endorsed the programme.[10]

Professor Sir David King has publicly stated that Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi is "keen" on the programme.[1]


At last - an authoritative, practical and comprehensible plan that could avert the catastrophe that is threatening our planet.
Sir David Attenborough, official launch at the Royal Society on 2 June 2015[11][12]
[Research and development in renewables] should be like the Manhattan Project and the Apollo Project in the sense that the government should put in a serious amount of R&D.
Bill Gates, spearhead of Mission Innovation, 25 June 2015[13]
We will work together and with other interested countries to raise the overall coordination and transparency of clean energy research, development and demonstration... We ask our Energy Ministers to take forward these initiatives...
Leaders of the G7, 41st G7 summit, Schloss Elmau, June 2015[14]
Foremost, governments need to fund research and development for low-carbon energy technologies at Apollo-program levels of commitment... The required funding of this ultimate public good is too great a risk with too little a reward for private companies. But it is easily fundable by governments.
Professor Steven Pinker, Harvard University[15]

Key dates

See also


  1. Carrington, Damian. "Global Apollo programme seeks to make clean energy cheaper than coal". The Guardian (2 June 2015). Guardian News Media. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  2. "A Budgetary Analysis of NASA's New Vision for Space Exploration" (PDF). Congressional Budget Office. Congress of the United States. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 October 2006. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  3. Clark, Pilita (2 June 2015). "$150bn needed to save world from climate change, warn scientists". Financial Times. Pearson PLC. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  4. "Summary - the organisation of the Programme". Global Apollo Programme. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  5. Rundle, Michael (2 June 2015). "How The 'Apollo Programme' For Energy Might Just Save The Planet". WIRED. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  6. Stern, Nicholas (2015). Why Are We Waiting? The Logic, Urgency, and Promise of Tackling Climate Change (1st ed.). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. p. 267. ISBN 978-0-262-02918-6.
  7. Harrabin, Roger (2 June 2015). "'Moon shot' call on clean energy". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  8. Coghlan, Andy (2 June 2015). "New Apollo programme wants moonshot budget to boost renewables". NewScientist. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  9. Letters. "Help the Global Apollo Programme make clean energy cheaper than coal". The Guardian (15 September 2015). Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  10. Sachs, Jeffrey. "Our generation's moonshot: A clean-energy world by 2050". MarketWatch. Dow Jones & Company. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  11. "Parliamentary Business, House of Lords". Hansard. Column 313. 2 June 2015. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  12. "Push to make renewables cheaper". Yahoo! News. Press Association. 2 June 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  13. Adams, Christopher; Thornhill, John (25 June 2015). "Gates to double investment in renewable energy projects". Financial Times. Pearson PLC. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  14. "Leadersʼ Declaration, G7 Summit, 7–8 June 2015" (PDF). G7 Germany 2015 Schloss Elmau. Group of Seven (G7). Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  15. Pinker, Steven; Goldstein, Joshua S. "Inconvenient truths for the environmental movement". The Boston Globe (23 November 2015). Retrieved 25 November 2015.