The US would have the most to gain percentage-wise from its share of an estimated $2.3 trillion clean energy economy by 2020, a new Pew report finds, if it adopted aggressive clean energy policies such as a national Renewable Energy Standard. Investment dollars follow policy. By 2020 investment would have ramped up a 237 percent increase for the US, one of the highest percentage gains among G-20 members, to a cumulative $342 billion in the US.
By contrast, the EU overall would see only a 20 percent increase from current levels. Europe has already invested in the clean energy economy since signing Kyoto in 1997. The study forecasts EU investment to reach a cumulative $705 billion by 2020, 20 percent higher than now.
But that 20 percent rise is an average. For example, while the United Kingdom would add only $134 billion, for the UK, that would mean a 260 percent rise, almost as high as the US percent change. By contrast, Germany, already a world leader, has the potential to realize more than $208 billion worth of investment in the enhanced policy scenario, yet that would actually reverse their current rate of renewable investment. The advance guard of the European marketplace, comprising countries like Germany, will mature in the coming decade, as investment in some of the early leaders declines and new entrants step forward.
But all of this depends on policy, which determines renewable energy investments or lack of them.
The EU is now considering raising its 20% carbon reduction target to an even more ambitious 30% – carbon emissions below 1990 by 2020 – target. Under that more aggressive renewable energy scenario, EU investment could reach $337 billion investment annually in 2020—an increase of 161 percent compared with 2010 investments in long term renewable energy assets.
China is expected to gain $620 billion cumulatively by 2020 from the extremely ambitious new renewable energy policies it has just put in place. Within the G-20, China, India, Japan and South Korea are together projected to account for approximately 40 percent of clean energy project investments by 2020.