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13 Big Low-Carbon Investment Stories From 2016’s First Half

Photo: McIek / Shutterstock
Photo: McIek / Shutterstock

We’re already halfway through 2016, and the historic Paris climate summit was over six months ago. Time to take a look at what has happened!

We’ve put together a small selection of low-carbon investment stories that made headlines in the first half of 2016. Also check out our State of the Planet for a week-by-week overview of key climate change stories.

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

According to a new UN report, structural change is under way in how we power our cities, homes and businesses, the Daily Planet reported. Last year, electricity powered by coal and gas attracted less than half the record investment made in solar, wind and other renewables capacity.

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.

2. Carbon Brief published charts to show how renewables investment broke records in 2015.

Get a grip on the record level of global renewables investment in 2015, in seven charts.

3. Venture Capital investment in renewables has grown by 34 per cent.

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.

The Daily Planet reported solar companies led the field followed by the wind sector according to the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) annual report.

4. The European Union announced the doubling of its clean energy budget.

The EU joined the global Mission Innovation initiative, confirming it will double investment in clean energy research and innovation to €2 billion per year by 2020, the Daily Planet reported.

5. The global solar sector will get a $1 trillion power-up from the World Bank, and India is getting a $1 billion boost for its national solar initiatives.

In collaboration with the International Solar Alliance (ISA), the World Bank said it wants to raise the substantial amount of $1 trillion by 2030, the Daily Planet reported.

“We cannot afford to lose momentum, because with each passing day, the climate challenge grows. Record hot days and months have now become the new norm,” World Bank president Jim Yong Kim had said earlier at the 2016 Climate Action summit.

The World Bank also announced that it plans to provide more than $1 billion to support India’s ambitious national solar energy initiatives.

6. A top investor said he expects Tesla to become a $700 billion giant in the next ten to twenty years.

Billionaire investor Ron Baron has predicted that Tesla Motors will become one of the biggest companies in the world over the next decade or two, Bloomberg reported. “This could be one of the largest companies in the U.S.—in the whole world,” Baron said.

Baron’s firm has amassed a stake in the electric-car company worth about $325 million, or 1 per cent of its total market value.

7. Canada’s Ontario injected $100 million in cleantech jobs.

The Canadian province of Ontario announced it will invest nearly 100 million Canadian dollars into new greenhouse gas emission reducing projects, the Daily Planet reported.

8. The EU And United States called for more public-private investment in climate innovation.

Political leaders from the European Union and the United States would like to see more public-private investment in climate change related innovation, the Daily Planet reported.

The statement was made following the seventh EU – U.S. Energy Council meeting on energy cooperation on 4 May in Washington DC, and also urged all countries to “begin their domestic processes in order to ratify, accept or approve the Paris Agreement as soon as possible.”

9. Pension funds worth $433 billion pressured a major oil company to release a risk assessment of how it will be affected by climate change.

Huffington Post reported how the pension funds put pressure on oil company ExxonMobil to start telling its shareholders how climate change will affect the oil giant’s business.

10. Investors are aware of climate change risks, but are still slow to act.

Investors are still slow to act on climate change, even though they are “more aware of risks to their portfolios,” senior executives told Reuters, which reports the executives tend to focus more on the short term and are unclear about the costs. Last year, a Climate-KIC study already revealed most European business leaders are aware of climate change and have prepared strategies to respond to to it, but with a lack of focus on innovation – making their strategies ineffective.

11. Germany said it will give electric car sales a €1 billion subsidy boost, half of which will be paid for by the car industry itself.

The new programme is set to subsidise 400,000 electric cars, the Guardian reported, and aims to boost the sector until electric cars become “mass market capable.” Consumers receive €4,000 when they choose a purely electric vehicle and €3,000 for a plug-in hybrid.

12. The Pacific received a massive €600 million renewable energy boost.

International donors including the European Union and New Zealand have committed over €600 million for sustainable energy projects in the Pacific region, the Daily Planet reported.

New Zealand climate change minister Paula Bennett and Neven Mimica – the EU’s international cooperation and development commissioner – had been inspecting sustainability projects in the region ahead of the announcement. The region includes 15 countries with a combined area of more than 500.000 square kilometres.

13. $24 trillion said governments should fast-track the Paris Agreement.

Just days before the Paris Agreement signing in New York earlier this year, investors urged world leaders to let the climate deal enter into force sooner than planned, possibly as early as late 2016.

The Daily Planet reported how investment groups representing more than 400 institutional investors (who collectively manage more than $24 trillion in assets) urged world leaders to “sign the Paris Agreement on April 22nd at the United Nations in New York” and then usher it through their national legislatures “as soon as possible.”

Interested in more climate change headlines? Check out our State of the Planet and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

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