A Scan of Critical World Developments
Renewable Energy Investment Falls Worldwide
Bloomberg New Energy Finance, global investment in renewable energy fell in 2013 for the second year in a row. Both China and the US, the largest sources of investment, experienced declines (4% and 9% respectively). The picture was even bleaker in Europe, where investment fell by over 40% because of the decisions of Germany, Italy, and France to cut subsidies for new projects. A few countries countered the global trend. In Japan, the institution of a feed-in tariff to help offset the losses from nuclear generators shut down after the Fukushima disaster spurred the solar market, leading to an overall increase in investment of 56%. Feed-in tariffs for wind projects likely stimulated the 33% increase in Canada as well. Even those, however, pale next to the scale of investment necessary to address the threat of climate change, estimated at $1 trillion per year—quadruple the 2013 total—by the International Energy Agency. That would require an immense amount of political will. However, with countries like Germany, the UK, and the US rolling back subsidies to renewable energy or allowing them to expire, such political will appears to be in short supply.