The clean energy sector can be a capricious beast, all sunny investment one moment and dire outlook the next. There was a reminder for ministers from 23 economies – representing 90 per cent of global renewables and efficiency investment – at the Clean Energy Ministerial in London last week that the sector’s progress to date is still not sufficient to address the climate change challenge.
The International Energy Agency warned that under current policies, carbon dioxide emissions will nearly double by 2050. “This would likely boost global temperatures by at least six degrees Celsius,” IEA deputy executive director Richard Jones told the conference, an eventuality that “would confront future generations with significant economic, environmental and energy security hardships”.
The main outcome of the Ministerial was a raft of initiatives to ramp up energy efficiency, which the IEA said was lagging well behind the deployment of renewable power. Coincidentally, energy efficiency was the only sector in the WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation Index, or NEX, to rise last week, gaining 2.2%. The NEX saw a moderate overall loss, retreating less than 1% over the five days.
A sideshow at the Clean Energy Ministerial – at least for the UK media – was whether or not Prime Minister David Cameron would make a long-awaited speech supporting the green economy.
Whether his seven-minute, seated effort constituted the keynote some had been hoping for, Cameron had reassuring words for the sector, saying he “passionately” believed renewable energy is “vital to our future” and “good business too”. This came as a new YouGov poll showed that nearly nine out of 10 people in the UK want the government to increase the use of domestic renewable energy.