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UN climate chief: clean energy needs investment worth $1tn a year



Christiana Figueres has said that global investment in renewables and energy efficiency needs to rise from $300 billion a year to $1 trillion by 2030, in order to exit a fossil fuels-based economy and tackle climate change.

In an interview with the Guardian, the UN climate chief said, “What we need to have invested in the energy sector and in the green infrastructure in order to make the transformation that we need in order to stay within 2C is $1 trillion a year and we are way, way behind that.

“Last year, we had $300 billion, and in the same year we had double that amount invested in exploration and mining in fossil fuels. So you can see that the ratio is not where it needs to be. We need to be at the opposite ratio.”

While investing in green energy is crucial, Figueres also added that two-thirds of fossil fuels reserves need to stay in the ground to avoid a global warming higher than 2C and that investors should be aware of this.

There is study after study coming out saying beware we are invested in assets that are already and will soon be losing value”, she said.

Catherine Howarth, chief executive of UK-based responsible investment charity ShareAction, said that most pension funds in the UK do little to manage climate risks and should develop clear strategies.

If the planet’s temperature continues to increase the risks to business from extreme weather events and price volatility of food and other commodities will affect portfolio returns”, she said.

Investment as usual isn’t good enough – we need to dramatically increase investment in cleaner, sustainable technologies and move capital out of fossil fuels and high carbon industries.”

Further reading:

UN climate chief: lack of climate agreement is ‘unacceptable’

COP19: coal must ‘change rapidly and dramatically’, says UN climate chief

Biggest global investors call for urgent action on climate change

Bloomberg launches tool to evaluate ‘unburnable’ carbon risks

Report says investing in fossil fuels is a ‘very risky decision’