A recent report by BloomburgNEF found that in the first half of 2021, the global investment in clean energy projects and companies was $174bn. That is a 1.8% increase over the same time last year, but a drop compared to the final quarter of 2020.
New equity, venture capital, and private equity commitments to renewable energy companies all hit record highs in the first half of 2021. Solar energy project investment was higher in the first half of 2021 than in previous years, and will probably accelerate in the second half to meet end-of-year deadlines.
With all of this good news, the sobering prediction is that this level of increase is not sufficient to get the world to carbon net-zero by 2050. According to the IEA report, we need to triple the investment in renewable energy in the 2020s to meet the goals of the Paris Accord.
In particular, developing economies hit hard by Covid-19 are prioritizing their economic recovery over mitigating climate change, and that usually means coal-fired plants and fossil fuels.
The governments in developed countries need to step in to fund some of the changes needed in developing countries. For example, a Paris, France-based development agency is providing over $58 million to Bangladesh to back green power and energy efficiency projects. Small and medium-sized businesses and co-operatives will be prioritized for this funding.
In Thailand, a major oil company, PTT Pcl has announced investments of almost $10 billion in EV businesses and renewable energy businesses and has plans to expand via more acquisitions including renewables and energy storage.
According to Randeep Somel, manager of the M&G Climate Solutions Fund in London, if more governments would focus on curbing emissions in Asian countries, investors would have more confidence to put their money in it, too.
The Infrastructure and Jobs Act has provisions that will be beneficial such as $75 billion to build the first national network of EV chargers. This will help address climate change by incentivizing the adoption of electric vehicles. The Act also includes money for electric-powered, zero-emissions buses. Additional provisions will be added to next year’s initiative. These are local actions, and necessary, but they are aimed at solving a global issue.
First-world countries need to invest in the greening of developing economies, creating sustainable energy and reliable jobs all over the world. Since we all share the same planet, assisting them in their quest to recover their economy and mitigate climate change benefits everyone.