Renewable energy investment ($ 286 bn) surpassed investment in coal and gas ($ 130 bn) in 2015-16 and estimated to amount to $333 bn in 2018-19. Not just the developed countries, but developing countries like Brazil, Philippines, Mexico, Turkey, Chile, Africa, and India are focusing on renewable energy to phase out fossil fuels. Solar has obviously become the world favourite in a short span of time, showcasing its feasibility, low maintenance, prolonged lifespan and easy to install attributes.
The Looming Threat
It is important to note that oil and gas investment in 2016 was close to $ 522 bn, although it was down from 2015’s investment ($ 595 bn), it was still higher than renewables. Therefore, it is apparent that to push out fossil fuels, which is not just an option but a necessity now, the world would require more effort and aggressive investment initiatives.
Understanding the situation and the possible outcome, 80 world-leading economists from 20 countries have submitted an appeal to stop investing in fossil fuels, just before the International Summit on Climate Finance that took place in December 2017. And initiatives like- The One Planet Summit, which discussed on how investors, financiers, and innovators can best find a way out of the fossil fuel bind in December 2017; obviously made a headway in renewable energy growth identified by promises of entities like-
- The World Bank (announced it would no longer finance upstream oil and gas)
- Dutch Bank (to stop all financing of coal projects and companies- that get more than 5% of their income from coal by 2025)
- AXA (one of the world’s biggest insurance companies to divest €3.4bn from coal and tar sands)
However, World leaders and NGOs worldwide have accepted the fact that besides countries (both developed and developing countries) focusing on renewable energy, common man’s acceptance to solar is important to truly reduce fossil fuel investment.
Raising Awareness is Important
A great way of increasing global acceptance towards solar is raising awareness. Global daily CO2 emission level was 406.75 ppm (parts per million) in December 2017 however, in January 18, 2018 it was calculated to be 407.64 ppm. Moreover, considering that fossil fuel generation and consumption accounts for most of the CO2 and growing population in the world (7.6 bn), it is easy to understand that continuous use (and investment) of fossil fuels will leave the world in fumes.
It is important to note that year 2017 was recorded to be one of the hottest years. And continuous fossil fuel generation and usage will see us past 1.5 degree C and 2 degree C temperature raising target warned in the Paris Climate Agreement, leading to catastrophes worldwide. Reports show that we have only 5 years to stop fossil fuel generation and usage; otherwise effects of global warming will turn the world into a giant furnace, changing lives and making our progress meaningless.
Research also reveals that continued CO2 emissions (through fossil fuels) will increase the emission quantity from 32.3 billion metric tons in 2012 to 35.6 billion metric tons in 2020 and 43.2 billion metric tons in 2040.
Still, investment in fossil fuels persist. 58% energy related Public Finance from G20 Countries went to fossil fuels, while only 15% investment was recorded towards renewables.
World business machine is still rolling to generate and use fossil fuel (investment), because there is a demand. The only remedy to this- is global acceptance towards renewable energy. Disclosing data and information to masses, highlighting how fossil fuel is quickly becoming the bane to the world and its/our future will help in phasing out fossil fuel.
When it is clear to the world that even though investment in fossil fuel seems to add up to our convenience, actually everyone in the world is paying for it with their future, the demand for fossil fuel will slow down and countries all around the world will be free from geo-politics to focus on renewable energy generation.
Leading Countries Need To Step In
NGOs and economists around the world agree that leading countries have the responsibility to shoulder growth in renewable energy (especially solar) and lead by example through stopping fossil fuel investment.
Approximately 59% growth in global CO2 emissions came from Asia (from 2012) and estimates say in the future, Asia will account for most of the CO2 emission share by 2040. China accounts for 41% of the total CO2 increase in Asia. Even through China is leading the solar growth in the world (installed more than half of total global solar installation in 2017), still countries like China, US and developing markets like India have to stop investing in fossil fuels right away.
Our world is at the brink of change, whether the change would be- life sustaining or life threatening, depends on us. So, the decisions have to be made globally through disclosing facts, and opting for sustainable green energy.
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