Published on 11 February 2019

CSR

10 signals proving the ecological transition is on the right path

Global temperatures are rising, and biodiversity is degrading. Some experts are even predicting the collapse of our civilisation in the near future. Yet, the WWF along with the Banque de France have identified how renewable energy development, agricultural transformation and corporate engagement are all aligning with the Paris Agreement to prove that all is not lost.

A study conducted by the WWF, and supported by Banque de France Governor François Villeroy de Galhau, identifies 10 signals showing that the energy transition is on the right path.
@istock

1. THE BEGINNING OF THE END FOR COAL

Despite good levels of coal consumption, its profitability has greatly declined. Almost half of the coal produced in the United States is held by bankrupt companies.  In China, 40% of coal facilities are losing money and construction for 151 new coal facilities has been cancelled.

2. GREEN ENERGY, THE NEW BLACK GOLD

Investors are moving away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy. Both sectors are now equal in terms of market capitalisation at $4 trillion. And for the past six years, investments in renewable energy ($280 billion in 2017) have exceed those in plants powered by fossil fuels ($103 billion).

3. PUBLIC AUTHORITIES ARE LEAVING FOSSIL FUELS BEHIND

In 2013, fossil fuels benefited from $550 billion in subsidies, four times more than renewable energy. Three years and a global climate agreement later, the amount in subsidies allocated to fossil fuels has decreased by half to $270 billion, while those allocated to renewable energy has risen to $160 billion.

4. CLIMATE:  A FINANCIAL RISK (ALMOST) THE SAME AS OTHERS

Climate change is becoming increasingly integrated in investor portfolios as a financial risk. 287 portfolios representing $100 trillion in assets already support the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations. Nearly half of the global reinsurer market has divested from coal assets.

5. ALIGNING WITH 2°C IS THE NEW COMPANY BASELINE

L'Oréal, McDonald's, Cisco System and Legrand…More than 500 companies worldwide, representing nearly 900 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions, have committed to aligning their climate strategy with a fixed global warming trajectory of 2°C, as outlined in the Paris Agreement. 164 have seen had had their strategy approved by the Scientific Committee from Science Based Targets. At the launch of the initiative in 2015, only 30 companies had responded.

6. EMPLOYMENT: THE GREEN ECONOMY IS GAINING THE UPPER HAND

By 2030, the green economy will create 18 million jobs worldwide, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO). In the United States, one dollar invested in clean energy creates three times more jobs than fossil fuels. Between the period 2000-2015, the growth rate of green jobs in the European Union was seven times higher than that of the classical economy. More than 10 million people now work in renewable energy, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). 

7. RENEWABLE ENERGIES ARE BECOMING ACCESSIBLE

The price of electricity from renewable energies continues to fall. In Germany, it is already cheaper than fossil fuels. Storage is also becoming easier with battery storage costs dropping by 70% per kilowatt hour between 2010 and 2016 ($273/Kwh).

8. ELECTRIC VEHICLES ARE FINALLY TAKING OFF

It’s a new era for electric vehicles. It took 20 years to sell the first million electric vehicles, but only 18 months to sell the second million. Between 2017 and 2018 global sales jumped by 66%.  It is estimated that 33% of all cars will be electric by 2040.

9. BUYING ORGANIC IS BECOMING A CONSUMER HABIT

Over the past 15 years, the organic market has seen increased demand amongst Europeans. In 2000, the market hardly exceeded €7 billion. In 2016, the market was close to €35 billion. The organic sector also generates one and a half times more jobs than the conventional market.

10. THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY IS COMING FULL CIRCLE

Studies show that a 30% improvement in efficiency would allow for the creation of 2 million jobs and generate profit of €1.8 billion in Europe by 2030.

Béatrice Héraud @beatriceheraud

The WWF report  "10 signals the green economy is underway" is available here


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