Lord Stern welcomes announcement that 20 major economies will double clean energy R&D investment
Responding to the announcement today (30 November 2015) that 20 countries have pledged to double government investment in clean energy innovation, Nicholas Stern, Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science, said:
“This announcement at the start of COP21 signals serious intent, by both the private and public sectors, to act on climate change. The pledge means that US$20 billion will be invested by 20 countries in clean energy research and development over five years, which represents a doubling in public spending.
“By comparison, the Global Apollo Programme, which was launched by Sir David King, myself and others earlier this year, made the case for global spending research, development and demonstration to be increased from US$6 billion to US$15 billion per year. So, whilst today’s announcement is clearly an important and significant move to help accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy, more investment is still needed.
“The last decade has witnessed some clean energy technologies develop much more quickly than we could have predicted. As a result, the costs associated with clean energy have fallen rapidly. In particular, the cost of solar photovoltaic energy has been slashed by recent technological progress.
“With investment, the costs associated with clean energy can fall further still. This new wave of funding for research and development on clean technology could make unsubsidised solar energy, coupled with electricity storage, competitive with fossil fuels for power generation in much of the world within a decade. And that is even without taking account of the fact that the prices paid for fossil fuels do not reflect the costs of damage they create through climate change and local air pollution.
“Investment in solar energy is all the more important for developing countries. The vast majority of growth in energy demand will come from the developing world, where there is the greatest potential for solar energy. In Africa and South Asia, where most of the poorest people in the world live, low-cost clean energy can help bring electricity to those that need it most.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS
- Lord Stern is chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, as well as I.G. Patel Professor of Economics and Government, at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Since July 2013, Lord Stern has been President of the British Academy for the humanities and social sciences. Lord Stern was with HM Treasury between October 2003 and May 2007. He served as Second Permanent Secretary and Head of the Government Economic Service, head of the review of the economics of climate change (the results of which were published in ‘The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review’ in October 2006), and director of policy and research for the Commission for Africa. His previous posts included Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist at the World Bank, and Chief Economist and Special Counsellor to the President at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Baron Stern of Brentford was introduced in December 2007 to the House of Lords, where he sits on the independent cross-benches. He was recommended as a non-party-political life peer by the UK House of Lords Appointments Commission in October 2007.
- The ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (http://www.cccep.ac.uk/) is hosted by the University of Leeds and the London School of Economics and Political Science. It is funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (http://www.esrc.ac.uk/). The Centre’s mission is to advance public and private action on climate change through rigorous, innovative research.
- The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment (http://www.lse.ac.uk/grantham) was launched at the London School of Economics and Political Science in October 2008. It is funded by The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment (http://www.granthamfoundation.org/).
- The British Academy is the UK’s national academy for the humanities and social sciences. Its purpose is to inspire, recognise and support excellence in these disciplines throughout the UK and internationally, and to champion their role and value. More information about the Academy’s work is available at www.britac.ac.uk. Follow the British Academy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/britac_news.