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World Economic Forum Report: US$515 Billion Per Year Needed in Green Investments

A report released by the World Economic Forum during its annual meeting in Davos warns that to have a chance of limiting the average increase in global temperatures to 2°C, a level which an increasing number of experts already considers unsafe, at least US$515 billion per year will need to be invested in clean energy globally between now and 2030.

The report, Green Investing: Towards a Clean Energy Infrastructure, published in collaboration with New Energy Finance, identifies eight significant, emerging, large-scale clean energy sectors: onshore wind, offshore wind, solar photovoltaic, solar thermal electricity generation, municipal solar waste-to-energy, sugar-based ethanol, cellulosic and next generation biofuels, and geothermal power.

The report’s authors, Max von Bismarck and Anuradha Gurung from the World Economic Forum, and Chris Greenwood and Michael Liebreich from New Energy Finance, argue that “enormous investment in energy infrastructure is required to address the twin threats of energy insecurity and climate change. In light of the global financial crisis, it is crucial that every dollar is made to ‘multi-task’ to create a sustainable low-carbon economy.

Clean energy opportunities have the potential to generate significant economic returns. The report shows that even after a tumultuous 2008, an index of the world’s 90 leading clean energy companies had a five-year compounded annualized return of almost 10%, unmatched by the world’s major stock indices.

Other highlights from the report include:

  • Clean energy investments increased from around US$30 billion in 2004 to more than US$140 billion by 2008. Investments in 2008 exceeded expectations at US$155 billion (the report is based on projections for 2008—which suggests that US$ 142 billion would be invested by year-end).

  • Investment in clean energy has not only increased, but has also diversified geographically. Developing countries attracted 23% (US$26 billion) of asset financing in 2007, compared to 13% (US$1.8 billion) in 2004.

  • Four key enablers for a shift to clean energy will be energy efficiency, smart grids, energy storage, and carbon capture and storage.

  • Well-developed conditions for innovation, markets for clean energy through public procurement, energy efficiency standards and stable and simple policies are essential to meet the climate change challenge.

Speaking at a press conference at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2009 in Davos, Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, Connie Hedegaard, Minister of Climate and Energy for Denmark, and Lord Nicholas Stern, among many others—including senior business and NGO representatives and Members of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Climate Change—issued a statement urging the link of the economy and climate agendas in 2009. They warn against complacency in the UN climate talks, due to conclude in December in Copenhagen to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

Their statement suggests using some of the money available from fiscal stimulus packages to invest in activities that can provide jobs as well as create low emission options. They say that linking the economy and climate discussions in this way can create a “diplomatic opportunity” in 2009.



The Goracle


Keep the government and tax dollars out of religion. Globalwarmism is a religion with no foundation other than models that don't stand up to scrutiny. The models that show our impending disaster do not work on historical temperatures and CO2.

Stop wasting tax dollars, time, and energy on making the Globalwarmists wealthy. Focus out precious resources on energy independence and cleaning up pollution. Shame on the Globalwarmists. It's all about $$$$$ with them.



it is interesting that we have all this interest in clean air and energy; but, because of careless management of the country's financial resources by the former President and the Congress, we have little money to fund the projects. In fact there are some serious questions that we will survive as a society. I believe the last eight years have been a disaster for our people; we all have become poorer and distrustful of our government. While the current President is trying to spend billions on getting the economy going again, the Congress is at the same old game of earmarking and spending money based on pet projects and voting amendments based on their party philosophy. The republicans want tax breaks for business and the democrats want to give the money directly to the people. Now is not the time for these schinanigans. It's time to cut all the nonsense and pass a bill yesterday that only benefits the American people and not what has been dictated by the Washington lobbyists. It cannot be business as usual in D.C. We must reform the system and fire the lobbyists.


Does all this investment have to come from Government? If I buy a BEV, install LED lights, and insulate my house, does that count? If so, the number is $500B is doable.


Lad the economic mess we are in has been comming for decades. Homes prices couldnt keep going up past inflation forever and the entire planet basicaly was borrowing off of us housing prices.

Thats also why we arnt getting out of it any time soon. We simply lost too much money and cant restart that stupid mess no matter how much the spend spend spend money grubbers on ALL SIDES wish otherwise.

Andrey Levin

“…an index of the world’s 90 leading clean energy companies had a five-year compounded annualized return of almost 10%, unmatched by the world’s major stock indices.”

This does not count that for every surviving company (one of 90 mentioned) there were 5 companies which went bankrupt. As I am aware of, non of clean energy companies are paying dividends, which means non of them reach sustainable profitability.

Investment, including speculative, of private capital into clean energy companies is Russian roulette at best.


let's say there are 1.5 B inhabitants of 'rich' countries.
So, that's an investment of about 35$/person/year, or about 10 cents/day
dirt-cheap !


Very perceptive Andry.
Some people are unable to realize that their personal delight with Green companies does NOT mean they are successful.
Just like the "wildly successful" Prius which (Toyota predicts) will capture only 1.5% of the 2009 US market.


This is not that difficult. U.S. purchases $700B foreign oil annually. Everyone acknowledges this is unhealthy all around. Project: replace foreign energy resources with domestic energy resources. Result: domestic jobs, retention of capital, cleaner environment, more efficient energy use and world leadership in Energy Independence.

No, not every "green" venture will be a whopping success. But how hard is it to fathom the idea that there's a $700 billion annual market waiting for solutions? And that's just money spent on oil. We need to replace aging coal and diesel-fired power plants. Build wind and solar farms. Grow energy crops and refine domestic alcohol fuel.

The eco-crisis, like all crisis lately, is yet another fumbled play by doomers defeated at the climate table.

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