New report on financing climate action: Richest 782 people could power half the world with 100% renewable energy

The personal fortunes of the 782 wealthiest people on the planet, many CEOs of major corporations, could power Africa, Latin America and most of Asia with 100% renewable energy by 2030, said Friends of the Earth International in a new report released today. [1]

Launched just a week before the UN climate summit in Paris, the report illustrates that the finance for an energy revolution certainly exists, while the political will to drive the transformation is so far shockingly absent.

Some of the key findings of the new report - An Energy Revolution Is Possible are:

  • The wealth of the richest 53 people globally could power the whole of Africa with 100% renewable energy by 2030

  • The wealth of the richest 32 people could power most of Latin America with 100% renewable energy by 2030

  • $5,148 Billion of extra investment would be required to generate half the world’s electricity with 100% renewables by 2030. This is an investment equal to the wealth currently held by 0.00001% of the global population, or 782 people 

This report is a wake up call for policy makers and governments. Our world faces two destructive and entwined crises – growing inequality and climate change. The time has come to address them together,” said Sam Cossar-Gilbert of Friends of the Earth International.
Friends of the Earth Australia said the research confirms the wealth is available to transform the global energy system, calling on the Turnbull government to ramp up its contribution to the Green Climate Fund to at least $350m per year. Australia's deepened involvement in the Fund under the leadership of Malcolm Turnbull is a positive step towards our country financing a fair share of the required global climate-resilient development.

We call on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to support an equitable climate change agreement," said Cam Walker, FoE campaigns coordinator. "The government can prove its bona fides by lifting its contribution to the Green Climate Fund."

"Rich nations like Australia have incurred the greatest carbon debt. We should be prepared to do the heavy lifting when it comes to cutting domestic emissions and funding renewable energy projects in our region.”

Climate change is already happening – wreaking devastation on communities and ecosystems around the world. Without urgent and drastic action to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, we face far worse runaway climate change, with impacts that would dramatically overshadow anything we see today, and affect predominantly the poorer people and nations, which are the least responsible for climate change”.

Energy production from fossil fuels is one of the main contributors to sky-high levels of carbon emissions and tackling it is central to stopping a climate disaster.

Business as usual is no longer an option. Carbon emissions continue to rise. We need an energy revolution,” said Dipti Bhatnagar, Friends of the Earth International Climate Justice and Energy coordinator.

The energy transformation involves not just switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy, but also a deeper transformation including democratic ownership of renewable energy resources,” she said.

The comparisons with individual wealth are used as a stark reminder that the finances needed to halt dangerous climate change is certainly available. The report does not suggest that the wealth of these individuals can or should be directly used to drive the needed energy transformation.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT 

  • Sam Cossar-Gilbert, Friends of the Earth International Economic Justice Resisting Neo-Liberalism Coordinator (Paris) +33 75 09 18 983 or sam.cossargilbert@foe.org.au

  • Dipti Bhatnagar,  Friends of the Earth International Climate Justice and Energy coordinator: +258 840 356 599 (Mozambique mobile) or email dipti@foei.org

 NOTES TO EDITORS