Climate change, only the greatest problem facing the world, has received nearly zero attention in the presidential campaign. So it’s easy to forget about it! But the fact that investment in renewables is seriously down worldwide is a very bad thing.
Investment in renewable energy and smart energy technologies totaled $42.2 billion in the third quarter, down 31 percent from the previous quarter and down 43 percent from the third quarter of 2015, a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance said.
Asset finance of utility-scale renewable energy projects fell 49 percent year-on-year to $28.8 billion in the third quarter.
“These numbers are worryingly low even compared to the subdued trend we saw in Q1 and Q2,” Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said in a statement.
Chinese investment fell by 51 percent compared with the third quarter last year to $14.4 billion and Japan’s investment was 56 percent lower at $3.5 billion.
In many countries, electricity demand growth is also lower than government forecasts.
“My view is that the Q3 figures are somewhere between a ‘flash crash’ blip and a ‘new normal’,” Liebreich said.
If more transactions emerge, Q3 figures could be revised upwards, but with Q1 and Q2 data down an average 23 percent from the equivalent quarters last year, clean energy investment this year could end up well below last year’s record of $348.5 billion.
Of course, markets change and you can’t take a quarter or two and assume this is a permanent change. But we need not just growing electricity demand to come through renewables, but also the replacement of fossil fuel energy structures with new investments in wind and solar. If that’s not happening and declined investment is something like a new normal as the analyst states, that’s a very bad thing for the planet and all the species who live on it. Including us.