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Expand chart
Reproduced from "Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2018", UNEP and Bloomberg New Energy Finance; Chart: Axios Visuals

A new report, published by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and partners, underscores how additions of new renewable power capacity — especially solar — greatly outpaced other sources in 2017. Additions of solar generating capacity alone, led by China which accounted for more than half the increase, outstripped net new fossil fuel capacity, according to the report.

The bottom line: The report underscores both the progress toward a lower-carbon global power mix and the immense challenge of corralling carbon emissions, which grew last year after a 3-year plateau. Nils Stieglitz, president of Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, wrote in an accompanying statement: “This shows where we are heading, although the fact that renewables altogether are still far from providing the majority of electricity means that we still have a long way to go."

By the numbers:

  • 157 gigawatts of renewable power capacity were added worldwide last year, with solar accounting for 98 of them.
  • That outpaces the 70 gigawatts of fossil fuel generation capacity added.
  • Renewables are growing fast but from a small base (see chart above). Non-hydro renewables accounted for 61% of new capacity additions last year, but renewables were 12% of global generation.
  • Global investment in renewables rose 2% in 2017 to $279.8 billion.
  • China alone accounted for 45% of that investment and added 53 gigawatts of solar capacity.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Health

Prime minister flags vaccine mandate for 40% of New Zealand workforce

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during an October COVID-19 briefing in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo: Robert Kitchin - Pool/Getty Images

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Tuesday a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for businesses, as the government pushes to reach a nationwide 90% vaccination target.

Why it matters: Under the new COVID-19 Protection Framework, businesses must require vaccine certificates from customers if they're in close contact with them. Ardern said at a briefing Tuesday that such venues wishing to operate, including hair salons, bars, restaurants and gyms, must ensure staff are vaccinated.

State Department to set up new cyber bureau to combat hack attacks

Secretary of State Tony Blinken speaks on the challenges during an October conference in Quito, Ecuador. Photo:y Felipe Stanley/Agencia Press South/Getty Images

Secretary of State Tony Blinken announced Monday plans for the State Department to create a new bureau of cyberspace and digital policy.

Why it matters: The establishment of the bureau and plans for a new envoy to oversee critical and emerging technology come after a series significant hack attacks and other online crimes, notably ransomware assaults on U.S. infrastructure.

Biden rejects Trump's latest executive privilege claims

Photo: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The White House on Monday rejected two more of former President Trump's claims of executive privilege over documents that the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot requested, CNN first reported.

Why it matters: Trump's legal team is seeking to block some of the panel's requests for records by invoking executive privilege, which can allow presidents and their aides to sidestep congressional scrutiny. The Biden administration has maintained that it will evaluate on a case-by-case basis.