Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!
Expand chart
Reproduced from BloombergNEF; Chart: Axios Visuals

Global investment in renewables and other low-carbon energy development fell 14% in the first half of 2019 compared to the same period last year, thanks largely to a steep decline in China, new data shows.

Why it matters: It marked the lowest level for any half-year since 2013, according to BloombergNEF, the consultancy that carefully tracks investment in low-carbon energy projects and companies.

Threat level: The slowdown comes as global carbon emissions are still rising — a far cry from the steep cuts scientists say are needed in coming decades to limit warming to 1.5°C or even 2°C above preindustrial levels.

By the numbers: Worldwide investment totaled $117.6 billion in the first half of 2019. Investment in China, the world's largest renewables market, was down 39% to $28.8 billion, while totals fell by much smaller amounts in the U.S. and Europe.

  • India, however, saw a 10% jump to $5.9 billion as it drives toward an "ambitious" target of 175 gigawatts of renewables capacity — including 100 GW of solar — by 2022.

Where it stands: BNEF notes that the drop stems in part from changes in Chinese policy that move away from subsidies called feed-in tariffs in favor of competitive project auctions.

  • “The slowdown in investment in China is real, but the figures for first-half 2019 probably overstate its severity," said Justin Wu, BNEF's head of Asia-Pacific, in a statement alongside the new data.
  • "We expect a nationwide solar auction happening now to lead to a rush of new PV project financings. We could also see several big deals in offshore wind in the second half," he said.

What they're saying: I asked cleantech expert and author Ramez Naam for some perspective. He said that while obviously the world needs to be moving faster and increasing investment, the tally highlights an important change in the landscape.

  • "Renewables are emerging out of their first economic phase, where they were subsidy dependent," Naam tells me via email.
  • "As renewables around the world drop into competitive unsubsidized prices, and even into prices where building new renewables is cheaper than operating existing fossil fuels, I expect investment to both grow and to be less volatile on a year-to-year basis."

Go deeper: Renewable energy mandates are costly climate policies

Go deeper

DOJ watchdog to probe whether officials sought to alter election results

Former President Donald Trump and former First Lady Melania Trump exit Air Force One in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Jan. 20. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

The Justice Department's inspector general will investigate whether any current or former DOJ officials "engaged in an improper attempt to have DOJ seek to alter the outcome" of the 2020 election, the agency announced Monday.

Driving the news: The investigation comes in the wake of a New York Times report that alleged that Jeffrey Clark, the head of DOJ's civil division, had plotted with President Trump to oust acting Attorney General Jeffery Rosen in a scheme to overturn the election results in Georgia.

1 hour ago - Podcasts

Google's chief health officer Karen DeSalvo on vaccinating America

Google on Monday became the latest Big Tech company to get involved with COVID-19 vaccinations. Not just by doing things like incorporating vaccination sites into its maps, but by helping to turn some of its offices and parking lots into vaccination sites.

Axios Re:Cap goes deeper into what Google is doing, and why now, with Dr. Karen DeSalvo, Google's chief health officer who previously worked at HHS and as health commissioner for New Orleans.

Biden signs order overturning Trump's transgender military ban

Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

President Biden signed an executive order on Monday overturning the Trump administration's ban on transgender Americans serving in the military.

Why it matters: The ban, which allowed the military to bar openly transgender recruits and discharge people for not living as their sex assigned at birth, affected up to 15,000 service members, according to tallies from the National Center for Transgender Equality and Transgender American Veterans Association.