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Europe outspending US on clean energy but China dwarfing both

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Europe is set to outspend the US on clean energy this year — but neither will come close to China’s investments.

That’s according to new research from the International Energy Agency (IEA). It estimates that clean energy tech funding will hit $2 trillion in 2024 — nearly double the figure for fossil fuels.

The biggest magnets for the cash include renewables, electric vehicles, and nuclear power. Yet not every region is splashing the cash lavishly.

China has emerged as the runaway leader. The country is tracking to spend $675bn this year, according to the IEA, which credits strong domestic demand for solar, lithium batteries, and EVs.

Europe takes second place with a projected clean energy investment of $370bn. The US follows with $315bn.

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Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director, expects the spending to continue growing.

“Clean energy investment is setting new records even in challenging economic conditions, highlighting the momentum behind the new global energy economy,” he said. “For every dollar going to fossil fuels today, almost two dollars are invested in clean energy.”

It’s not all good news, however. According to the IEA, the clean tech world is increasingly polarised.

Global disparities in clean energy

China, Europe, and the US accounted for over two-thirds of the global clean energy investment. Beyond these financial powerhouses, the capital is flowing far less freely. 

Outside of China, spending remains low in emerging and developing economies. Combined, they account for only about 15% of global clean energy investment. 

The IEA warns that high capital costs are stifling their clean tech projects.

“More must be done to ensure that investment reaches the places where it is needed most, in particular the developing economies where access to affordable, sustainable, and secure energy is severely lacking today,” Birol said.

Fossil fuels are also still attracting big bucks. Global upstream oil and gas investment is set to grow by 7% in 2024 to reach $570 billion, according to the IEA. The agency observed a similar rise last year.

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