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Published on October 24th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan


$20 Trillion for Urgent Climate Change Action

October 24th, 2011 by  

investors urge urgent climate change clean energy action

Say what?

285 top investors who represent $20 trillion in assets pushed leaders of the world to take urgent climate change and clean energy action in a letter last week.

The 2011 Global Investment Statement on Climate Change starts out with the intro (which is then followed by domestic policy recommendations and international policy recommendations):

Climate change presents major long-term risks to the global economy and to the assets in which we invest. At the same time, well designed and effectively implemented long-term climate change and clean energy policy (“investment-grade policies”) will not only present significant opportunities for investors in areas such as cleaner and renewable energy, energy efficiency and decarbonisation, but will also yield substantial economic benefits including creating new jobs and businesses, stimulating technological innovation, and providing a robust foundation for economic recovery and sustainable long-term economic growth.

In the Cancun Agreements in 2010, governments agreed to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions so as to hold the increase in global average temperature below 2 degrees Celsius. To achieve this goal, massive investment in low-carbon energy will be required. For example, in its 2010 World Energy Outlook, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has forecast that US$13.5 trillion (or some US$500 billion per year) in clean energy investment and spending, in addition to the commitments that have already been made by governments, will be needed between 2010 and 2035.

With data from the IEA indicating that global energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2010 were the highest on record, it is clear that the need for action is urgent. However, current levels of investment in low-carbon technologies fall far short of what is needed. Private investment will only flow at the scale and pace necessary if it is supported by clear, credible and long-term policy frameworks that incentivise investments in low-carbon technologies rather than continuing to favour carbon-intensive energy sources. Therefore, as we approach the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Seventeenth Conference of the Parties (COP-17) in Durban, South Africa, in November-December 2011, we wish to reiterate the calls we have made in previous Investor Statements about the importance of both domestic and international climate change policy in catalysing the required levels of investment needed to transition to a low-carbon economy, and to outline the elements of “investment-grade climate and energy policy” necessary to attract large scale investment in solutions to climate change.

Yes, there’s money in a clean energy transition. And there are jobs in a clean energy transition. And a clean energy transition would save the world tremendously in averted disaster and destruction. The technology is ready and urgent action is needed.

Really, there’s only one thing missing: the political will.

All of this is painstakingly clear to CleanTechnica readers, I think, so there is nothing new there. But it’s nice to hear that investors with $20 trillion in assets are telling our world leaders that!

Money Photo via Shutterstock. 


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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in NIO [NIO], Tesla [TSLA], and Xpeng [XPEV]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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