On April 29th thousands of people will gather in Washington, D.C. to march for climate, jobs and justice. This march is the culmination of a week of action that will kick off with the Science March and conclude with the People’s Climate March. It will be an extraordinary gathering, bringing together scientists, citizens, government officials, investors, workers and business leaders, hundreds of thousands of people speaking with one powerful voice in support of scientific integrity and climate action. I’m proud to say that I will be joining them.
I will be marching in solidarity with all of these groups, because I truly do believe in the power of citizens’ movements. I also believe in the power of business movements, including the thousands of companies who understand that climate action presents the single biggest economic opportunity of our lifetime. The transition to clean energy offers the promise of new business opportunities, new investments, and exciting technological innovations. In short, it’s an entrepreneurs’ dream.
Here are just three reasons why I think climate action is great for business:
First, clean energy is outcompeting its fossil fuel competitors. Investment in ‘new renewables’ capacity was roughly double that in fossil fuel generation in 2016, for the fifth successive year. 55 per cent of all the energy generating capacity added globally in 2016 was renewable capacity, a new record. Even companies like BP admit they have been “repeatedly surprised” by the growth of renewables.
Second, in the US, solar power employed more people than oil, coal and gas combined in 2016. Last year, solar energy employed 43 per cent of the electric power generation sector's workforce, while traditional fossil fuels employed just 22%, US Department of Energy statistics show.
And third, investors are hungry for renewables. This helped to fuel record acquisition activity in the clean power sector worldwide last year, totalling $110.3 billion, up 17 per cent. With costs falling too, the amount of renewables installed is increasing even faster than investment. In 2015 the amount invested in wind increased by 4 per cent, while the amount of wind capacity added increased by 31 per cent.
Richard Branson wind farm
On April 29th I will be marching in solidarity with the people most vulnerable to the terrible impacts of climate change. But also with the millions of people who stand to benefit from the transition. We have an incredible opportunity to innovate, create jobs, and build an economic future that provides opportunity and prosperity for all.