Global investment in renewable energy fell 7 percent last year to $318 billion and is expected to drop again in 2018, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), a Paris-based energy data and research group. Meanwhile, investment in fossil fuels increased for the first time since 2014, reaching $790 billion.
Globally, energy investment dropped 2 percent in 2017, to $1.8 billion. The decline in new renewables investment comes despite record levels of spending on new solar projects in 2017, as well as growing international pressure to move away from fossil fuels to reduce greenhouse gases and combat climate change.
“A decline in global investment for renewables and energy efficiency combined is worrying,” said Fatih Birol, the executive director of the IEA. “This could threaten the expansion of clean energy needed to meet energy security, climate and clean-air goals. While we would need this investment to go up rapidly, it is disappointing to find that it might be falling this year.”
If nations hope to meet their Paris Agreement climate targets, the share of fossil fuels in new energy investment needs to drop to 40 percent by 2030, according to the report. Instead, it increased slightly to 59 percent in 2017, driven largely by increases in spending on natural gas and oil. Coal investment continued its decline, hitting its lowest level in 10 years.