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11 Huge Green Investment Stories That Happened in 2016

Image: Kurt Kleemann / Shutterstock
Image: Kurt Kleemann / Shutterstock

Twelve months since the global climate agreement was adopted in Paris, we can look back at a huge year for green investment.

Grab a cup of hot chocolate and catch up on some of the biggest green finance stories that broke in 2016.

It is that time of the year we all like to reflect on what we have been doing and make a plan for the year ahead. If you are not already, some of these articles may just convince you that now is the time to get involved in the low carbon economy.

1. Investors worth $13 trillion urged the G20 to ratify the Paris Agreement in 2016.

A total of 130 investors in charge of over $13 trillion called on the G20 countries to ratify the Paris Agreement before the end of this year. The accord eventually came into force in November.

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2. Europe’s renewables sector exceeded 1 million jobs, €140 billion.

The European Commission’s energy department reported that the renewable energy sector employed over one million people in Europe and created a turnover of around €143.6 billion in 2015.

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3. The hunt for the “Googles of clean-tech” is on, venture capital statistics confirmed.

A UN report revealed that last year was the second year in a row that the booming renewables sector could count on more venture capital and private equity investment, clearing the way for the “Googles of clean-tech.” As global investment in renewables outpaced fossil fuels for the first time in 2015, venture capital and private equity investment in the renewables sector grew by a healthy 34 per cent to $3.4 billion – continuing the recovery from a dip that started in 2011.

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4. Green bonds shattered records with a projected $100 billion issued in 2016.

Seen as a key way to raise capital for new low-carbon projects, green bonds are on the rise and set for a record breaking year according to a major financial firm. Moody’s reported that this year’s issuance of green bonds could approach $100 billion globally, bringing the sector within striking distance of doubling bonds issuance in one year – an increase previously took nine years.

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https://twitter.com/ClimateKIC/status/791524087243812865

5. The world has invested a whopping $2.3 trillion in renewables over 12 years.

With last year’s record-breaking investment of almost $300 billion in renewable energy, the world’s total investment since 2004 has now reached $2.3 trillion – that’s a lot of cash. ‘Only’ $130 billion was invested in coal and gas power stations in 2015, according to the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) annual report released in March, compared to $266 billion in renewable energy investments. If you include R&D and early-stage technologies, the amount is even more impressive: $286 billion.

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6. Development banks are significantly increasing their climate change investments.

The world’s six largest multilateral development banks said they are increasing their investments to help poorer countries take action on climate change. In 2015, the banks already mobilised a total of $81 billion according to new figures released as part of a joint annual report. Looking ahead, the report says that the banks are now “significantly scaling up” their investments “across multiple sectors.”

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https://twitter.com/ClimateKIC/status/763620218870505473

7. Asia is a $7.7 trillion low carbon opportunity.

If the world is to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement on climate change, trillions will need to be shifted to low carbon projects in countries across Asia. A new report concluded that $7.7 trillion will need to be invested until 2035 in energy efficiency initiatives and renewable energy projects to support the low carbon transition in China, India, Japan and South East Asia.

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8. Sustainable infrastructure is a huge $90 trillion investment opportunity.

Because what is built today will be around for a long time, it is crucial buildings, energy grids and public transport are constructed with the Paris climate accord in mind. Over the next 15 years, governments and finance institutions will need to shift investment towards sustainable infrastructure to meet climate change targets and kick-start economic growth, a major report said.

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https://twitter.com/ClimateKIC/status/790443465867919360

9. Investors worth $24 trillion urged traditional car makers to shift gears.

The global response to climate change and the emergence of innovative new car start-ups means the automotive sector will need to transform rapidly or risk being left behind, investors warned. A global network of more than 250 institutional investors, representing assets worth over $24 trillion, published a guide with specific threats facing the automotive sector, empowering investors to help traditional car manufacturers turn things around before it is too late.

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https://twitter.com/ClimateKIC/status/787915560994562049

10 Europe and China are triggering stunning growth in the green bonds market.

Green bonds, seen as a key way to fund low-carbon projects, have been subject to extraordinary global growth since they were first issued in 2007. A European Commission study said the issuance of green bonds globally has risen from $2.6 billion during 2012 to $74.3 billion by November 2016.

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11. A $1 billion clean-tech fund was launched.

Along with 19 other high-profile investors, Bill Gates formed a new venture capital firm. Breakthrough Energy Ventures, led by Gates, will pour at least $1 billion into clean-tech companies over the next 20 years according to TechCrunch.

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Feeling inspired by the business opportunities of the low carbon economy? Find out how Climate-KIC could accelerate your start-up.

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