Potential $10 trillion for clean energy
Investors who may consider putting $10 trillion into clean energy want governments to take the lead in creating policy.
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In New York yesterday, the United Nations hosted a gathering of investors who represent $22 trillion in potential funds for the environment. At the Investor Summit on Climate Risk, the discussion centered on climate change as a bottom line issue, and the clean energy sector as an economic opportunity.
However, investors say, Governments have to get on board before they’ll take the plunge.
"We're looking at, over the next 20 years, a $10 trillion-dollar investment in clean technology, and the private sector is going to end up footing the bill for about 85 or 90 percent of it," said Mindy Lubber, President of Ceres, a national coalition of investors and environmental groups.
"And they're willing to start the flow of that capital, but they need clear signals from the government; a level playing field; and the rules of the road that say there'll be a price on carbon pollution, and there'll be a cap on carbon pollution. Then they're ready to roll."
Carbon capping is a controversial subject for legislators. The cap-and-trade bill has passed the House, but is stalled at the Senate. The Obama administration said they hoped to take up the issue in the new session.
"Capping greenhouse-gas emissions has proven a tough slog even within the majority Democrats," said Keith Johnson of the "Wall Street Journal" in a recent article.
While politicians are debating carbon capping, Mindy Lubber says investors are calling for it. "Today we've got $22 trillion worth of investors, hard-core capitalists saying acting on carbon and dealing with climate change is important for the economy. It must happen if we're going to compete internationally and ramp up our clean economy technology. And these aren't a bunch of environmentalists; they're financial leaders."
Lubber adds that jobs are also high on the clean energy list. "Right now we are losing the race to Germany, to China, to Denmark, who are building their clean economies; bringing out more and more businesses and more jobs than we are. The largest solar companies, the largest wind companies -- they're not here in the United States, they're in Germany, they're in China. We've got to get on with the job of competing."
But, she says, before the business of clean energy can happen, the policy of clean energy needs to happen.
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