Global Investments In Clean Energy to Hit $240 Billion in 2011


Photo: Lance Cheung via Flickr/CC

Who's missing from the lede of this Reuters story? It begins: "Brazil, China and India are expected to fuel global investments in clean energy in 2011 that are expected to reach $240 billion, the head of a United Nation's green economy initiative said on Wednesday." Three of the world's fastest-growing nations are doubling down on clean energy while the world's richest nation, well, isn't. Despite the absence of the good ol' US of A's absence from the list of top investors in clean energy, this is good news nonetheless. If that $240 billion sum seems higher than usual, that's because it is -- the UN is projecting a significant uptick in clean energy investment from previous years in 2011.

Reuters reports that "The U.N.'s environmental unit (UNEP) said investment in renewable energy hit $180-$200 billion in 2010 up from $162 billion in 2009, driven by the three countries." So it's really nothing new to see the three foremost developing nations in the world leading the clean energy charge -- and to see the US still dragging its feet relatively speaking.

And can anyone out there wager a guess as to what's spurring the increased investment? Yup, rising oil prices: "The increased investments are because sustainable energy is gaining momentum as governments seek cheaper sources -- such as solar, wind and ethanol -- to cushion against rising oil prices."

And while these sums seem massive, UNEP still maintains that even greater investment is still necessary -- it says that $360 billion annually is necessary to properly continue the transition to cleaner energy worldwide. Yet it's encouraging to note that at current rates of increased investment, we could see that target hit in just a few years. Whether or not the US will help the world hit that goal is another question altogether.

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