Global investment in clean energy technologies is still well below what it takes to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, according to a major new report from the International Energy Agency. To fill the void, annual investment needs to be three times what it was in 2021 for the remainder of this decade.
The size of this gap has two important implications. First, for every year that goes by without a significant increase in investment, the gap for the years to come will widen, and the chances of achieving the Paris Agreement goal of limiting warming to 1.5 ° C above pre-industrial levels, are further out of reach.
Second, expanding carbon pricing will make fossil fuels even more expensive, even if clean energy is unwilling to take over the reins. That means the global energy market is likely to experience more sudden price spikes like the one that hit Europe, China and India over the last month.
Still, the IEA report promises massive gains for investors who move to clean energy early. By 2030, in the IEA’s net-zero scenario, the size of the global clean technology market will exceed the value of the oil market, rising from $ 122 billion to $ 870 billion. This increase is primarily driven by the explosive growth in the market for batteries used to store energy for electric vehicles and the power grid. By 2050, the IEA predicts, batteries alone could be worth as much as oil in 2030.
The report also confirms an argument put forward by the IEA back in May: In the net-zero scenario, there is no more room for new oil and gas developments after this year.