AFP – The clean energy technology sector will grow into a 1.6 trillion-euro (2.4 trillion-dollar) industry by 2020, becoming the third largest industrial sector after automobiles and electronics, WWF said Friday.
The clean energy industry, which includes wind energy infrastructure, insulation, solar panels and bio-ethanol treatment production, generated 630 billion euros in revenues in 2007, a sum that has already surpassed that of the global pharmaceutical industry, said WWF.
“This is the clean economy growth happening now with only a partial Kyoto protocol international framework supporting clean energy development, patchy national support for green energy and huge subsidies to fossil fuel use,” said Kim Carstensen, leader of WWF?s global climate initiative.
“Imagine what is possible with a successful Copenhagen climate deal and the national mechanisms to deliver its outcomes — clean energy is where the money is going to be and this is where energy security is going to be,” she added.
Germany, the United States and Japan currently lead clean energy sales, according to 2008 data cited by the WWF.
China is ranked fourth in absolute sales, but is expected to take up a “rapidly increasing share” in coming years.
In terms of sales relative to gross domestic product, however, it is Denmark, Brazil and Germany which are leading the scale.
Denmark is leading wind energy and insulation products, while Brazil has a massive bio-ethanol industry.
Germany, meanwhile is a specialist in solar and wind energy products.
“Clearly, from a national perspective there is much to gain and nothing to lose from investing in clean energy,” said Donald Pols, Head of the Climate Programme at WWF-Netherlands.
“Forgoing these opportunities for the sake of propping up an aging, polluting fossil fuel sector for as long as its lobbying power remains significant is acting for vested interests not the national interest.”
Some 194 nations are meeting in Copenhagen under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), seeking to secure an agreement spelling out national pledges for curbing heat-trapping carbon emissions.
Over the past 250 years, atmospheric concentrations of these invisible, odourless, tasteless gases have risen, propelled by the unbridled use of coal, oil and gas.
The envisioned December 18 accord will also pump hundreds of billions of dollars in aid to poor countries, providing them with new and clean technology and the means to toughen their defences against the impact of climate change.