A lot of opinions and reports have been published on the historic Climate Change agreement reached Saturday, the 12th of December, 2015. The general consensus seems to be a cautious optimism that this is a turning point in geopolitical action to stem atmospheric C02 levels. I say “cautious” because success is predicated on a number of elements yet to be determined including:
- Countries adhering to their legally binding commitments
- Climate science’s accuracy that keeping global temperature increases under 1.5 degrees celsius is enough to avoid catastrophic global consequences
- Individual country’s and global society’s ability to meet the binding reduction targets they’ve agreed to
In order to do so, we’ll need a pretty drastic global shift in the way that our energy is produced and consumed. That means leaving a great deal of already-identified fossil fuel reserves (oil, coal, natural gas) in the ground, a concept that the oil and gas companies may have a tough time with.
However, one signal that the fossil fuel companies will respond to are economic ones, which are very much influenced by the current direction of global investment. The Paris Climate Agreement also called for the provision of ‘climate finance’ from rich to poor countries of at least $100 billion, which is actually a rather modest amount on a global scale, considering US companies have pledge over $150 billion alone to combat climate change. We hope that this is a turning point for clean energy investment, one that will catch fire globally and usher in a new era of prosperity based on the shift to a less carbon intensive economy. Perhaps underpinned from the other end by the growing divestment movement.
In any case, reaching an international treaty is a momentous achievement, and we expect to see an increased interest in clean energy investment from efficiency to renewable power generation in the coming months and years. Part of this effort has, for a long time been spearheaded by local and state governments, evidenced most recently by the increasing interest in “green bank”, aka public-private clean energy investment partnerships, something that HB&C has been at the forefront of for years. With the Clean Power Plan and now this global climate agreement, we expect to only see continued growth.
Interested in talking about clean energy investment, public private partnerships, or the right investment vehicles to meet your company, town, city, state, or federal climate goals?
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