Green energy boom as West outed for ‘climate hypocrisy’

Written by Lori Campbell on 31st Jan 2022

Global green energy investment hits a record £560 billion as new data reveals the shocking disparity between emissions in the West and those of poorer countries. Meanwhile, Aviva Investors puts 1,500 corporates on notice over climate and other ESG issues, Rihanna pledges £11.1 million to fighting for climate justice through her Clara Lionel Foundation, and a new report warns an overwhelming 99 per cent of large businesses are failing on key social sustainability commitments. It’s the Good With Money weekly news brief. 


Green energy investment hit record £560bn last year

Investment in green energy hit a world record of £560 billion ($755 billion) last year – up a massive 27 per cent from 2020.

The growth was driven mainly by investment in electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, which jumped 77 per cent last year to £203 billion ($273 billion), according to BloombergNEF’s Energy Transition Investment Trends 2022 report.

The renewable energy sector still holds the top spot in investment terms, rising by 6.5 per cent to £272 billion ($366 billion).

Overall, clean power and electrification – including renewables, nuclear power, energy storage, electrified transport and electrified heat – attracted £544 billion ($731 billion) of investment. A further £17.8 billion ($24 billion) was invested in hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, and sustainable materials.

See the top performing sustainable funds in the latest Good Investment Review

West’s emissions dwarf those of poorer countries

In the first two days of January, the average Brit was already responsible for more carbon dioxide emissions than someone from the Democratic Republic of the Congo would produce in an entire year, according to new analysis.

The study by the Center for Global Development (CGD) highlights the “vast energy inequality” between rich and poor countries. It found that each Brit produces 200 times the climate emissions of the average Congolese person, while each American produces 585 times as much.

By the end of January, the carbon emitted by someone living in the UK will surpass the annual emissions of citizens of 30 low and middle-income countries, it found.

Euan Ritchie, a policy analyst at CGD Europe, said his work was prompted by the “climate hypocrisy” of western countries, including the UK and the US, that have pledged to stop aid funding to fossil fuel projects in developing states.

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Aviva puts 1,500 corporates on notice over climate and other ESG issues

Aviva Investors has put 1,500 companies on notice regarding environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues – including the threat of motions to oust chief executives if urgent targets aren’t met.

The firm, which manages more than £262 billion of assets, has urged the chairs and executives at all businesses in which it invests to show urgency on issues including the climate crisis, biodiversity loss and human rights.

It is calling on the businesses to publish detailed biodiversity, net zero and human rights-related actions plans, and to link executive pay to the delivery of these plans. Net zero plans are set to become a legal requirement for large, high-emitting businesses in the UK from 2023.

Should businesses fail to take these actions, Aviva Investors says it will vote against them this AGM (annual general meeting) season.

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Rihanna pledges £11 million to climate justice movement 

Popstar Rihanna has pledged £11.1 million ($15 million) to fighting for climate justice.

The ‘We Found Love’ singer is making the donation through her Clara Lionel Foundation, which is named after her grandparents.

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