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Yearly green investments of $440bn needed to meet climate target

23rd July 2010

By: Terence Creamer
Creamer Media Editor


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Some $440-billion a year of additional global investments would be required between 2010 and 2015 to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the levels outlined in the Copenhagen Accord, a new United Nations report argues.

The ‘World Investment Report 2010', which was published earlier this week by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad), adds that, by 2030, up to $1,2-trillion a year of additional investment will be needed to sustain warming below 2 °C above the preindustrial temperatures, or 1,2 °C above current temperature levels.


The yearly report, which records foreign direct investment (FDI) flows and stocks, noted that low-carbon FDI would be a necessary component to meeting this climate targets.

It added that such FDI flows were already significant, with FDI into renewable energy, recycling and the production of green technologies having fallen relatively marginally to $90-billion in 2009, from $120-billion in 2008, despite the recession. Such investment had been a mere $10-billion in 2003.


Global FDI inflows, meanwhile, slumped by 37% to $1,1-trillion in 2009, having declined by 16% in 2008, from record levels of around $2,1-trillion in 2007.

South African policymakers had already identified so-called green industries as a key growth driver, with Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel having estimated that some 300 000 jobs could be created in South Africa's renewable energy sector over the next ten years, of which 20 000 jobs could be generated in the next two years.

Further, South Africa's State-owned Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) plans to inject R11,7-billion into ‘green' industries over the next five years as part of a larger R100-billion disbursement plan between 2010 and 2015.

The IDC was already studying 11 wind-power projects, seven solar ventures (photovoltaic and concentrating solar power), two biomass projects and a hydropower project.

Unctad stressed the importance of private sector investment in making economies more climate-friendly, but said that government had a key role to play in creating low-carbon policies that attracted foreign investment.

The organisation argued for the creation of a global partnership to stimulate low-carbon investments, embracing five components, including:

* Establishing clean-investment promotion strategies.
* Enabling the dissemination of clean technology.
* Securing international investment agreements to support cli¬mate change mitiga¬tion.
* Harmonising corporate GHG emissions disclosure.
* And, Setting up an international low-carbon technical assistance centre to support developing countries in formulating and implementing national climate change mitigation strategies and action plans.

"Channelling investment and technology, including from transnational corporations, to meet the challenge of climate change is crucial," Unctad concluded.



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