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Christiana Figueres: Investment in clean technology needs to reach $1 trillion a year by 2030

By William Schaper (CCTNE Global Head of Research) in Madrid, Spain

What is the cost of avoiding catastrophic climate change? According to Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), it’s $1 trillion US per year.

In an interview with the Guardian this past January, Ms. Figueres said, “What we need to have invested in the energy sector and in green infrastructure in order to make the transformation that we need in order to stay within 2C is one trillion dollars a year and we are way, way behind that.”

Though this amount seems quite high and unprecedented, it actually echoes an assessment made by the International Energy Agency (IEA) nearly four years ago. According to a 2010 report titled Energy, Technology, Perspectives, it was estimated that an additional $46 trillion investment in cleantech would be needed to halve carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 and maintain global warming below 2 and 3 degrees Celsius.

Maintaining global average temperatures between this narrow range is the widely accepted target was established and agreed upon by almost all stakeholders in 2010 during the Conference of Parties (COP 16) leadership summit held in Cancun, Mexico.

Unfortunately, as Ms. Figueres stated, global investment in clean technology is falling short. Drastically short. In fact, considering that globally only $300 billion are being invested into green technology and infrastructure, less than one-third of the amount required.

In the same interview she went on to state, “From where we are to where we need to be, we need to triple, and we need to do that – over the next five to 10 years would be best – but certainly by 2030.”


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