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Michael Bloomberg plans $242 million investment in clean energy

More than 750 million people around the world lack electricity and energy poverty is a powerful driver of economic and health inequalities. Although Mr Bloomberg’s investment is intended to help tackle climate change, Ms Ogunbiyi said the funds could also help address various crises caused or aggravated by lack of electricity, including food shortages and poor medical care.

“It’s important to understand that this is a crisis in itself,” she said. “People who don’t have access to electricity or a clean kitchen are not a disadvantage. It’s the difference between life and death for many people, and it should be treated as an emergency.

Total clean energy investment in developing countries was less than $150 billion in 2020, according to a June 2021 International Energy Agency report, which warned that by the end of the decade, this funding was to exceed $1 trillion per year to put the world on track to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Ms Ogunbiyi said that as Sustainable Energy for All and other organizations work with the 10 countries to create energy transition plans or update existing ones, they will encourage country leaders to sign pledges. of “no new coal”.

The idea behind the type of investment that Mr. Bloomberg makes is that a philanthropic organization like his takes the greatest risk at the start of a project that decision-makers might otherwise be skeptical about, and if it works, the project will become attractive to conventional investors. later, said Rachel Kyte, dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University and former chief executive of Sustainable Energy for All.

Even if Mr. Bloomberg’s money can lower the financial barriers, the political barriers remain formidable. The fossil fuel industry’s deep opposition to the development of renewable energy “is a huge obstacle,” said Tom Sanzillo, director of financial analysis at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

But what funding like Mr. Bloomberg’s can do is create the foundation on which a transition to renewable energy from fossil fuels becomes the smartest financial decision for companies. That means increasing the risk of developing fossil fuels, Sanzillo said. This also means reducing the risk associated with the development of renewable energies.

“I think, overall, market forces are on Bloomberg’s side,” Mr. Sanzillo said. “If he had done this 10 years ago, I probably would have said maybe it wouldn’t work. I think you have better wind at your back here.

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