Forum urges vast clean-tech spending

The World Economic Forum says more than US$10 trillion must be invested in clean technology between now and 2030 if the earth is to be spared from an unsustainable increase in temperature, the Guardian reported. At its annual meeting of political and business leaders in Davos, Switzerland, the organisation said at least US$515 billion should be spent annually on limiting carbon emissions.


Climate change has been pushed down the agenda at Davos this year because of the global financial and economic crisis. Nevertheless, the WEF study — co-authored with New Energy Finance (NEF) — stressed that vastly increased spending on protecting the environment was necessary.


Although "green investment" has increased more than fourfold, from US$30 billion to US$140 billion, between 2004 and 2008, it still would need to triple to meet the target set by the report’s authors. Annual spending of US$500 billion a year would be needed to prevent a temperature rise of more than 2° Celsius by 2030, they said. 


In the transition from fossil fuels to a clean-energy strategy over the next 20 years, the study identified eight emerging, large-scale clean energy sectors considered crucial. They are: onshore wind, offshore wind, solar photovoltaic, solar thermal electricity generation, municipal solar waste-to-energy, sugar-based ethanol, cellulosic and next-generation biofuels, and geothermal power. 


The study’s authors — Max von Bismarck and Anuradha Gurung of the WEF and Chris Greenwood and Michael Liebreich of NEF — said that "enormous investment in energy infrastructure is required to address the twin threats of energy insecurity and climate change".


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