Global capital racing towards clean energy

(Hindu Business Line, Chennai, 17 June 2021) India must accelerate its shift to renewable energy to attract more ESG funding and, thereby, meet its net zero emissions target. The International Energy Agency’s net zero emissions (NZE) roadmap by 2050 sets out the massive investment required to cut emissions and achieve the Paris goal of restricting global surface temperature increase to below 1.5 degree Celsius. Under the NZE roadmap, the use of unabated fossil fuels declines sharply to just over a fifth of the total energy supply. More than two-thirds of the energy supply in 2050 will come from renewables and around a tenth from nuclear. To meet these targets, total annual energy investment will have to surge to $5 trillion by 2030, more than tripling from just over $500 billion annually over the last five years to more than $1,600 billion in 2030. Further, the NZE roadmap requires annual investment in transmission and distribution grids to expand from $260 billion in 2021 to $820 billion in 2030. Global capital is already fleeing fossil fuels and moving towards more profitable clean energy — a shift that is now accelerating in response to net zero pledges last year by China, Japan and South Korea, a ratcheting up of climate ambition by President Biden’s administration and the recent announcement by G7 countries that they will exit all international coal financing by their export credit agencies.