The Guardian reports: As the Paris climate conference draws ever nearer, and with it the prospect of a global agreement that all countries will cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Europe can look on its contribution to the fight against climate change with pride.
But having fostered the fledgling renewable energy sectors of wind and solar power, and created the world’s first emissions trading scheme (ETS), it now looks as if Europe is ceding its leadership on environmental matters to Asia.
China was the world’s leading market for renewable power in 2014, the $83.3bn invested there being 33% higher than in 2013. Japan was in third place, India was in the top 10 and more than $1bn was also invested in Indonesia, according to a report for the United Nations Environment Programme. All saw double digit growth in investment. Europe was still a major destination for investment in clean energy, attracting $57.5bn , but the market grew by less than 1%.
Meanwhile, as carbon prices on the EU ETS languish far below the level that would incentivise low-carbon investment, China has launched seven regional pilot carbon markets that will be scaled up to national level next year and Korea has introduced its own market.
And while governments in Europe, from Bulgaria to Spain, scramble to cut support payments to renewable energy projects – most recently in the UK – India has increased its solar power target for 2022 from 20GW to 100GW. [Continue reading…]