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.
Britain's Prince William interviewed famed broadcaster David Attenborough on Tuesday at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Switzerland.
During the sit-down, the 92-year-old naturalist advised the world leaders and business elite gathered in Davos this week that we must respect and protect the natural world, adding that the future of its survival—as well as humanity's survival—is in our hands.
What's more, the accounting firm predicts that another 21 million electric cars will be on the road globally over the next decade due to growing market demand for clean transportation, government subsidies, as well as bans on fossil fuel cars.
By Matthew Savoca
Plastic pollution in the world's oceans has become a global environmental crisis. Many people have seen images that seem to capture it, such as beaches carpeted with plastic trash or a seahorse gripping a cotton swab with its tail.
Greenland is melting about four times faster than it was in 2003, a new study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found, a discovery with frightening implications for the pace and extent of future sea level rise.
"We're going to see faster and faster sea level rise for the foreseeable future," study lead author and Ohio State University geodynamics professor Dr. Michael Bevis said in a press release. "Once you hit that tipping point, the only question is: How severe does it get?"
Finally, some good news about the otherwise terrible partial government shutdown. A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration cannot issue permits to conduct seismic testing during the government impasse.
The Justice Department sought to delay—or stay—a motion filed by a range of coastal cities, businesses and conservation organizations that are suing the Trump administration over offshore oil drilling, Reuters reported. The department argued that it did not have the resources it needed to work on the case due to the shutdown.
Most people have heard of the Amazon, South America's famed rainforest and hub of biological diversity. Less well known, though no less critical, is the Pantanal, the world's largest tropical wetland.
Like the Amazon, the Pantanal is ecologically important and imperiled. Located primarily in Brazil, it also stretches into neighboring Bolivia and Paraguay. Covering an area larger than England at more than 70,000 square miles, the massive wetland provides irreplaceable ecosystem services that include the regulation of floodwaters, nutrient renewal, river flow for navigability, groundwater recharge and carbon sequestration. The wetland also supports the economies of the four South American states it covers.
By Andrea Germanos
Organizers said 35,000 people marched through the streets of the German capital on Saturday to say they're "fed up" with industrial agriculture and call for a transformation to a system that instead supports the welfare of the environment, animals and rural farmers.
By Patrick Rogers
If you have ever considered making the switch to an environmentally friendly electric vehicle, don't drag your feet. Though EV prices are falling, and states are unveiling more and more public charging stations and plug-in-ready parking spots, the federal government is doing everything it can to slam the brakes on our progress away from gas-burning internal combustion engines. President Trump, likely pressured by his allies in the fossil fuel industry, has threatened to end the federal tax credits that have already helped put hundreds of thousands of EVs on the road—a move bound to harm not only our environment but our economy, too. After all, the manufacturing and sale of EVs, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids supported 197,000 jobs in 2017, according to the most recent U.S. Energy and Employment Report.