The world is moving in the opposite direction of the Paris climate pact goals, with investment in renewable energy falling for the second consecutive year in 2018 and spending on fossil fuel extraction rising, the world’s energy watchdog has warned. Spending on renewable power such as wind, solar and biomass projects slipped 1 percent in real terms to $304bn in 2018, the lowest level since 2014, according to an International Energy Agency report published on Tuesday. Investment in coal mining rose by 2.6 percent compared with the previous year – the first uptick since 2012 – to $8obn, while capital expenditure in oil and gas extraction saw a 3.7 percent increase to $477bn.
Under the Paris accord, nearly 200 countries pledged to limit global temperature rises to less than 2C above pre-industrial levels. “Compared to 2015 when the Paris climate agreement was signed, the appetite to push low carbon investments and policies is slowly fading,” Fatih Birol, IEA executive director, told the FT.
Last year, carbon dioxide emissions from human activities reached a record owing to increased fossil fuel consumption. Two-thirds of the world’s capital investment in energy – which stood at $1.85tn last year – was spent on hydrocarbons, with the remaining third spent on low-carbon efforts such as renewables, nuclear and energy efficiency.
“If there was a bigger political will, we would have seen the numbers go the other way,” Mr Birol said. “I would put the responsibility of investment flows and which direction they go on the governments of the world.”