Clean Trillion Blog
A monthly blog series by Chris Fox, Director of Special Projects at Ceres
Why Investors are Essential to Tackling Climate Change – and How They Can Seize the Clean Trillion Opportunity
There’s a lot that investors can do to help tackle climate change. Investment opportunities abound as the world shifts from fossil fuels to clean energy. But cutting through the clutter to understand exactly what those opportunities are and how to go about capitalizing on them can be a challenge for investors both large and small.
Knowing that we need an additional trillion dollars per year in clean energy might sound daunting at first – but several developments in recent weeks show that not only is this goal within our grasp, but also that some of the biggest capital market actors now see the economic opportunities of investing in the Clean Trillion.
At the start of the New Year there is hopeful news on climate change and clean energy, but also an urgent challenge. The hopeful news: clean energy investment jumped 16% in 2014 to near its all-time high. The urgent challenge: to accelerate progress and expand clean energy investment to the levels needed to tackle climate change.
As governments gather for U.N. climate talks in Lima, there is growing evidence that policymakers have a critical role to play in scaling up investment in clean energy to the levels needed to tackle climate change.
The most significant climate change development this month was the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Synthesis Report issued on November 2. To limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius, the IPCC report states clearly, the world needs to make a rapid shift from fossil fuels to clean energy.
The global movement to tackle climate change feels palpably bigger, stronger, and broader than ever before. This year, Climate Week felt like a tipping point, what Malcolm Gladwell defined as “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point.”
To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, the world needs to invest $44 trillion in clean energy by 2050 – an average of $1.2 trillion per year for the next 36 years. We have a long way to go to achieve the Clean Trillion goal, however, there are several signs of progress.
The Clean Trillion campaign to scale up investment in clean energy picked up fresh momentum this month when Warren Buffett announced that he is doubling his company’s investments in renewable energy.
“The longer we wait, the more expensive it becomes to transform the global energy system.” That’s one key takeaway from the International Energy Agency (IEA)’s new Energy Technology Perspectives report.
On Earth Day, let’s take a moment to focus on the economic opportunities associated with tackling climate change. If that sounds like a contradiction, it shouldn’t – because climate change is not just an environmental issue. It’s also an economic issue.
How are investors, businesses and governments doing on the road to the Clean Trillion goal of $1 trillion per year invested in clean energy?
When Ceres called for an additional $1 trillion investment per year in clean energy at the United Nations in January, we hoped people would take notice.