Are clean technologies the investment opportunity of the 21st century? That was the breathless question at the panel I went to on Thursday, the second day of the “Advancing Sustainable Prosperity” conference in Boston. And some of the answers suggest to me that however much the private sector comes around to acting to slow, stop, and even reverse climate disruption (and let’s hope that’s 100 percent), we can’t rely wholly on market forces to transition to a low or no-carbon energy future.
The information the panel shared was dizzying from an investor’s perspective: clean technologies have accelerated rapidly over the last four or so years to become a $70 billion market worldwide, according to Kenneth Locklin of Clean Energy Group (a trade group representing power generators and distributors advocating for sustainable energy generation, that has worked closely with CERES on its Investor Network on Climate Risk), and current growth rates this will get close to $100 billion by the end of 2007. This year biofuels are one of the most exciting investment arenas, Locklin said, displaying a graph showing skyrocketing amounts of ethanol production.