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Sustainable Energy Update

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Climate and sustainable finance news: Oct 2020

Developments in the green energy sector and beyond.

Last updated: 13 Oct 2020 5 min read

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Cost of climate change could peak at $31trn

A new report by University College London and non-profit CDP suggests that if no action is taken to cut global emissions, the financial impact of climate change will reach $5.4trn a year by 2070, and $31trn a year by 2200.

Working from their predictions, this would lead to a 10% reduction in GDP growth rates 30 years from now. But these numbers, the report claims, could be mitigated if the Paris Agreement proved successful, whereby damages would hit $1.8trn a year in 2070.

Record levels of Amazon deforestation

The WWF is calling for a ban on deforestation in the Amazon for the next five years.

The organisation has released a report outlining how climate change and agriculture are affecting levels of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon.

The study states that deforestation has steadily increased, and the first six months of the year saw a 26% more hectares lost compared with the same period in 2019.

Fires in the area increased by 28% year on year in July, with humans responsible for at least 75% of the blazes. Globally, the report reads that the number of fire alerts across the globe was up 13% compared with last year. 

The study identifies the rise in hot and dry weather and deforestation for agriculture as the main reason for the increase.

Energy big hitters turning backs on renewables

Analysis published in journal Nature Energy has revealed that only one in 10 large energy suppliers have prioritised their commitment to green energy. Rather than investing in renewable energies, such as solar and wind power, their focus is still on fossil fuels. Even the 10% that are putting resources behind renewables continue to back coal and natural gas investments.

China pledges carbon neutrality by 2060

In a statement made to the UN General Assembly, Chinese president Xi Jinping has announced that China will become carbon neutral by 2060. Currently, the country accounts for 28% of global emissions, with Chinese emissions having risen since 2018 and predicted to peak before 2030.

The announcement is positive for the prospects of the COP26 summit next year, where China’s co-operation is thought to be key for setting more ambitious long-term international climate goals.

Energy storage set to surge this decade

China and the US are predicted to lead the way in the global movement towards cumulative energy storage capacity.

According to research by Wood Mackenzie, the sector is set for a 10-year boom, and should top 740 gigawatt hours (GWh) by 2030. Their forecasts suggest capacity is set to grow by almost a third every year this decade, with the main area of growth in the US, where utility resource planning is growing more important. 

Global cities commit to green recovery

Mayors from 12 cities including London, Bristol, Berlin, Milan, New York and Vancouver have committed to divesting from fossil fuels as part of economic recovery pledges. Representing more than 36 million residents, the mayors have also agreed to create annual progress reports, made to the C40 network of megacities.

Part of the agreement states that the case for divestment is “clear” and that green investments will promote the transition to a more resilient, prosperous and sustainable economy.


EU vote for 60% climate target for 2030 

The European Parliament has voted for a new target to reduce carbon emissions by 60% over the next decade.

If agreed to, the goal would spark potentially tough negotiations between the European Parliament, the European Commission and EU member states.

Meanwhile, the CLG Europe business leaders’ group has urged the EU to commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% over the next 10 years.  

EU finance mechanism for renewables

Financing and launching renewable energy projects across the EU looks set to be made easier from 2021, thanks to a new financing mechanism.

The European Commission has published its rules for a new system that it anticipates will make it easier for member states to collaborate to finance and create renewable energy projects. 

The Commission will manage the mechanism and allow contributing member states to pay voluntary financial contributions into the scheme. 


UK government wind farms pledge

The prime minister set out an ambitious plan to get homes powered by wind farms over the coming decade, as he addressed the virtual Conservative Party Conference.

Boris Johnson pledged that offshore wind farms would generate enough electricity to power every home in the UK by 2030, announcing a fund of £160m to upgrade ports and infrastructure. Aiming to create approximately 62,000 jobs, the investment is part of Johnson’s post-coronavirus recovery package. 

New spending framework for Scottish green recovery 

A new £1.6bn spending framework has been unveiled by the Scottish government. It announced the investment would form part of an enhanced Green New Deal for the country, as it seeks to improve biodiversity, cut emissions by around 25% and support 5,000 low-carbon jobs.

The new spending will give another £500m to nature-based solutions, including £150m on flood risk management. 

Home energy efficiency gets £3bn boost

The UK government has launched £3bn of initiatives aimed at improving the energy efficiency of homes and buildings. The £2bn Green Homes Grant and the £1bn Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme are now in place to reduce emissions in line with national climate targets.

Homeowners will be able to apply for Green Homes Grants to help with the cost of energy-saving home improvements, with poorer households receiving up to 100% of the cost of improvements up to a maximum of £10,000. 

Meanwhile, the UK100 network of local government leaders has claimed that more than 455,000 property and construction jobs could be created if the government increased funding for retrofit projects as part of its economic recovery plans.  

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