New high carbon infrastructure ‘too risky’ for investors

For any high-carbon infrastructure built today, the revenues from 10-years out should be seriously questioned.

Glasgow: New analysis in The Paris Effect — COP26 edition from global sustainability consultancy SYSTEMIQ shows there is no longer a meaningful case for investing in new carbon-heavy infrastructure, with all major sectors well capable of developing cost-competitive green solutions by 2030.

For any high-carbon infrastructure built today, the revenues from 10-years out should be seriously questioned.

“To build a prosperous, net-zero economy, we need to accelerate low-carbon investment and progress in energy, nature, finance, methane and carbon dioxide removal. The good news is that we know how to do this,” said the report.

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Building on its Paris Effect report from 2020, SYSTEMIQ highlights that with investment flows into low-carbon solutions, the world could see market tipping points in sectors representing 90 per cent of emissions by 2030 and all emissions by 2035.

Low-carbon solutions are competitive across much of the electricity sector, and within the next decade the world can expect to see disruptive trends in multiple sectors, including trucking, food and agriculture, aviation, shipping and others, supported by the Glasgow Breakthrough package launched at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) here this week.

“In 2020 The Paris Effect made clear that weak or delayed action not only translates into potentially devastating climate risk, but also puts economies at risk of falling behind the next wave of the creation of prosperity,” says Nicholas Stern, Chairman of the Grantham Research Institute.

“The Paris Effect — COP26 edition highlights that on multiple fronts rapid technological innovation is accelerating, supported by scaling investment and increased ambitions. It also makes clear that we need to do much more to mobilise capital for developing countries through creative combinations of international public finance designed to mobilise much larger flows of long-term private capital at much lower cost.”

But while the report finds that progress is accelerating on some fronts (e.g. solar and wind plus storage; electric vehicles; plant-based meats; green steel), the pace of change in other sectors is too slow (e.g., energy efficiency; heat pumps; financing for nature-based solutions; direct carbon removal).

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