2020 was a transformative year in many respects, and the increase in plans for clean energy by governments and corporations is one of the few with a positive spin. Most around the world are recognizing the dire threat of climate change, and investments in clean energy reflect this growing trend. But data over the year shows the majority of world power investments are still going to fossil fuels like oil and natural gas, with cleaner energies taking a backseat.
In data collected by the Energy Policy Tracker, as of Feb. 24, 40 percent of all energy investments established through policies by G20 countries since the pandemic began in 2020 are aimed at bolstering existing fossil fuels. That adds up to over $274 billion allocated over the course of the year. However, renewable energy investments have been picking up the pace in the last few months with a total of $258 billion allocated to clean energy at 38 percent. Other energies on the year made up 22 percent of policies with $153 billion.
The rhetoric of policymakers and business leaders this past year has pushed the idea of a clean energy future farther than it's ever been. Policy positions and actions, however, continue to show how money allocations are still going to fossil fuel investments and new dirty energy projects. The $258 billion aimed at clean energy is certainly a step in the right direction, but many scientists and climate advocates are urging policymakers to move away from fossil fuels at a much faster pace. This data hints at the fact that large energy corporations are still the bottleneck for change into a cleaner energy future, and their resistance is indicative of a lack of urgency which threatens to put people’s lives at risk in the coming years.