Dr Jeremy Leggett: When the G7 leaders agreed to push for a phase out of fossil fuels in June 2015, few suspected they could take the rest of the world with them. But at the Paris climate summit six months later every independent nation on the planet agreed to join them. The cynics argued that their Paris Agreement would never come into force, but in November 2016 it did. Now, all the 197 signatories of the treaty are taking action, with more than 1,500 climate laws & policies in place. These are not yet in sum enough to hit the Paris target, but governments have built a ratchet – a mechanism for racking up targets in the years ahead – into their agreement. A complete system change in world energy ought to be redolent with investment opportunity. And around the world, the beginnings of that system change are beginning to become clear. Some snapshots. The International Renewable Energy Agency reports that renewable electricity prices will be consistently undercutting fossil fuel electricity by 2020. Solar energy was the biggest single sector for new global power capacity additions in 2016 and 2017. In 2017, global solar capacity grew faster than all fossil fuels and nuclear combined for the first time. All China’s new power demand in 2015 was met with wind and solar. Fully 43% cities are now 100% renewable powered, and hundreds more are zeroed in on that target. 122 giant companies with “RE 100” targets have already procured renewable electricity on such a scale that, were they a nation, they would be a bigger consumer than Poland, and 24th in the world. One of them, Google, reached 100% renewables on 4th April 2018, despite the demand created by a host of energy-guzzling data centres. Apple joined them on 10th April. In America, the first coal plant has been shut down to be replaced by solar simply because the cost of building new solar is lower than the cost of continuing to operate coal. More than 10 million people now work in renewables for the first time, 3.4 million in solar.
Fund Forum 365 18th June 2018 read more »