More than $10 trillion must be invested in clean technology between now and 2030 to spare the Earth from an unsustainable increase in global temperature, the World Economic Forum warned today.
A report from the body that organises the Davos meeting of political and business leaders said at least $515bn should be spent annually on measures to limit carbon emissions.
Although the worsening financial and economic crisis has pushed climate change down the Davos agenda this year, the WEF study stressed that countries needed to vastly increase spending on safeguarding the environment.
Green investment has increased more than fourfold, from $30bn to $140bn, between 2004 and 2008, but would still need to triple to meet the target set by the WEF and the co-authors of the report, New Energy Finance. Outlays of $500bn a year would be needed to prevent a rise of more than 2C in global temperatures by 2030.
The study identified eight emerging, large-scale clean energy sectors that were seen as playing a crucial role in the transition from fossil fuels to a clean energy strategy over the next two decades. These were: onshore wind, offshore wind, solar photovoltaic, solar thermal electricity generation, municipal solar waste-to-energy, sugar-based ethanol, cellulosic and next-generation biofuels, and geothermal power.
Max von Bismarck and Anuradha Gurung from the World Economic Forum, and Chris Greenwood and Michael Liebreich from New Energy Finance, said "enormous investment in energy infrastructure is required to address the twin threats of energy insecurity and climate change. In light of the global financial crisis, it is crucial that every dollar is made to 'multi-task' to create a sustainable low-carbon economy."
At a time when the global economy has been struggling, the report said business had an opportunity to make healthy profits from the fight against climate change. An index of the world's 90 leading clean energy companies had a five-year compounded annualised return of almost 10%, unmatched by the world's major stock indices.
Earlier a group of climate change experts including Lord Nicholas Stern, author of the UK government's report on the economics of climate change, warned against complacency in the UN climate talks, due to conclude in December in Copenhagen to replace the 1997 Kyoto protocol. They said the economic and climate change agendas should be yoked together in 2009 to ensure that spending had long-term benefits for the environment.
Copyright Speakers Corner 2017