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Global energy investments rebound, thanks to fossil fuels

Global energy investments stabilized last year after three years of decline, due to greater spending on oil, natural gas and coal, according to a new International Energy Agency report just published.

What they’re saying: Fatih Birol, IEA executive director, says that “the world is not investing enough in traditional elements of supply to maintain today’s consumption patterns, nor is it investing enough in cleaner energy technologies to change course. Whichever way you look, we are storing up risks for the future.”

Report highlights:

  • Coal comeback: Coal supply investment increased for the first time since 2012, up 2% between 2017 and 2018.
  • Distribution disparities: Just 14% of energy investment dollars in 2018 went to regions where 42% of the world’s population live.
  • Chinese dominance: China spends nearly 0.08% of its GDP on energy research and development, and it's widening the gap compared to the rest of the world (whose spending is less than 0.05% per GDP).
  • Battery boost: Investment in battery storage rose by 45% between 2017 and 2018 to a record $4 billion.
  • Oil imbalance: Oil spending levels would need to drop to meet the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement goals, but they also “fall well short of what would be needed in a world of continued strong oil demand.”

Go deeper: Click here to sign up for our energy newsletter to read more about the report, particularly that last point.