We are taking a devastating risk with the green energy sector – one that might cost us our future

(The Guardian, 27 Feb 2024) Relying on private companies to solve the climate crisis means that the planet’s fate rests in the hands of asset managers.

We are living through perhaps the biggest and most important policy experiment in human history, without even being aware of it: we have been relying primarily on the private sector to put an end to the climate crisis. But this experiment increasingly looks like a mistake, and one that may cost us our planetary future.

To appreciate this, consider the global stock market. With stock prices now at all-time highs, it would be easy to assume that global business is uniformly buoyant. But look behind the headline figures and it becomes clear that while some industry sectors are flourishing, others are floundering. The cast of winners and losers throws up an irony that is significant and dreadful. One of the sectors where stock performance is worst happens to be one the world arguably needs to be best. That sector is clean, renewable energy, or what is more widely termed “green capitalism”.

Take the S&P Global Clean Energy Index, which measures the stock performance of leading companies in clean energy, especially solar and wind power. Since the beginning of 2021, this index has lost more than half its value. Champions of the sector waved this off as a teething problem. But now more than three years have passed. At what point does a temporary downturn become something more enduring, even endemic?

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The Guardian, 27 Feb 2024: We are taking a devastating risk with the green energy sector – one that might cost us our future