Global investment in low-carbon technology reached $243bn (£156bn) in 2010, according to new research from analyst firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) which suggests the sector is halfway to achieving the $500bn-a-year investment target that experts believe is required to ensure greenhouse gas emissions peak by 2020.
Published yesterday, the research found that 2010 investment levels surpassed the $186.5bn (£119bn) spent in 2009, significantly buoyed by an increase in spending in China.
Reporting on the findings, Bloomberg said clean-tech investment in China had expanded 30 per cent year-on-year to $51.1bn.
The study covered investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency, smart-grid equipment, biofuels, and carbon capture and storage, but excluded mergers and acquisitions.
According to BNEF chief executive Michael Liebreich, the study suggests the market could be on track to reach the investment levels required to ensure carbon emissions peak at the end of the decade, adding that the level of investment "flies in the face of scepticism about the clean-energy sector among public market investors".
However, he warned that investment could wane as governments start to remove subsidies put in place to bolster the sector. He also warned that the cost of clean technologies will have to fall if investment levels are to continue to grow.
"We have been saying for some time that the world needs to reach a figure of $500bn per annum investment in clean energy if we are to see carbon emissions peak by 2020," said Liebreich. "What we are seeing in these figures for the first time is that we are halfway there."
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