How Close is the World to $1 Trillion in Renewable Energy Investments?
Some bankers across the world are aiming high when it comes to investments in renewable energy.
Billionaire investors and climate-focused policy advocates like hedge-fund founder billionaire Tom Steyer and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin gathered at the United Nations this week to call for more investments in renewables and changes to financial markets that would boost investments, according to Bloomberg.
The figure they had in mind? $1 trillion per year—dubbed a "Clean Trillion" by Ceres and others.
Some in the financial and energy industries believe that's what it will take in order to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. As it stands now, global invests in clean energy must double by 2020 and once again in order to reach that goal.
In 2013, the global investment amount in solar, wind and other clean forms of energy was $254 billion, down 12 percent from $281 billion in the prior year. In 2011, record levels were set at $318 billion.
"What we need to have invested in the energy sector and in the green infrastructure in order to make the transformation that we need in order to stay within [2 degrees Celsius of global temperature rise] is $1 trillion a year and we are way, way behind that," Christiana Figueres, UN climate chief, told The Guardian. "Last year, we had $300 billion, and in the same year we had double that amount invested in exploration and mining in fossil fuels. So you can see that the ratio is not where it needs to be. We need to be at the opposite ratio."
According to Ceres, the world needs to invest an additional $36 trillion in clean energy for the next 36 years. The organization suggests it's actually possible, regardless how daunting it sounds, businesses, investors and policymakers band together. Here are some of the organization's proposals:
- Pension funds and other institutional investors should commit to a goal of investing 5 percent of their portfolios in clean energy. That amount is less than 1 percent at the moment, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
- Investors should more closely scrutinize companies that emit high levels of carbon dioxide.
- Banks should create simple investment tools that help investors access the market. For example, Elon Musk's SolarCity will introduce an online investment system within six months.
Ceres also calls for policymakers to form a new global climate change agreement by 2015, and establish polices that put a limit and price on greenhouse gas emissions.
"Cost competitive renewable technologies and attractive investment opportunities exist right now, but we're still not seeing clean energy deployment at the scale we need to put a dent in climate change," said Mindy Lubber, the president of Ceres, which organised this week's summit.
"We need to find a way to get more institutional investor capital into this space."
Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.
By Gudrun Heise
Just as scientists are scoring successes in coronavirus research, new problems are on their way. Fall is with us and winter is around the corner, so the season for colds and flu has begun — joining COVID-19.
Influenza Vaccination<p>A flu vaccination may thus be able to narrow down the diagnostic options when flu-like symptoms occur, but whether such a vaccination also has an influence on the behavior of the dangerous new virus is — like so much else — not clear. "It is conceivable that there is an indirect effect. But it is, I believe, a matter of speculation whether it has an immunological effect in the narrower sense," says Krause.</p><p>Every winter, doctors' waiting rooms are full of people who are coughing and sniffing but who mostly turn out to have only a severe respiratory infection. According to current knowledge, the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, is also likely to be subject to seasonal fluctuations. </p><p>In winter, cold viruses, at least, flourish because cold and dry air offers ideal conditions for their spread. In addition, it becomes more difficult to air rooms regularly and intensively — an important further measure to counteract the coronavirus and contain to some extent the danger posed by aerosols.</p><p>According to the <a href="https://www.rki.de/DE/Home/homepage_node.html" target="_blank">Robert Koch Institute, Germany's public health agency</a>, between 5% and 20% of people in Germany become infected with flu viruses every year. These viruses are also dangerous and can be fatal. The flu vaccination must be adapted to the influenza viruses every year, because they mutate. But at least there is a vaccination.</p><p>Most experts agree that there is unlikely to be a vaccine against the coronavirus by the time the next wave of influenza comes around. And even if a vaccine were to be approved, many unknowns remain.</p>
COVID-19 and Flu Simultaneously<p>For example, there is a lack of practical experience in dealing simultaneously with SARS-CoV-2 and influenza. It is possible to speculate that having influenza could facilitate the entry of the coronavirus into the human body. "The general weakening of the immune system during an influenza infection could increase the susceptibility of a patient to a SARS-CoV-2 infection," Krause says.</p><p>However, it is uncertain how dangerous this double infection could ultimately be and what can be done about it. Krause is of the opinion that we must arm ourselves against all three diseases — colds, flu and COVID-19. If we have a cold, bed rest, hot tea and cough medicine usually help. We can get vaccinated against flu. But how do we deal with COVID-19?</p><p><span></span>Probably people can only hope that if they get the illness, they will have a mild form with as few after-effects as possible. Here, it will certainly help to stick to suggested rules on hygiene to reduce or prevent our exposure to the virus. In an interview with DW, Bonn-based virology professor Hendrik Streeck made it clear that COVID-19 usually takes a more severe course when there is a high viral load at infection.</p>
Hygiene, Hygiene, Hygiene<p>The same hygiene measures with which we are trying to get at least some kind of grip on COVID-19 also apply to influenza. The less we come into contact with viruses, the greater the chance that we will be spared an infection or that it will be mild.</p><p>These measures include general hygiene precautions such as frequent hand washing and the wearing of protective face masks. "The various hygienic measures against COVID-19 will also reduce the spread of influenza," says Krause. "Possibly, further connections of a more immunological nature will be discovered."</p><p>Let us hope that is the case, because the flu season hasn't even started.</p>
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By Sharon Zhang
Back in March, when the pandemic had just planted its roots in the U.S., President Donald Trump directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to do something devastating: The agency was to indefinitely and cruelly suspend environmental rule enforcement. The EPA complied, and for just under half a year, it provided over 3,000 waivers that granted facilities clemency from state-level environmental rule compliance.