Photovoltaic power station operated by State Power Investment Corporation on June 3 in Shanxi Province, China. Photo:Shi Gangze/VCG via Getty Images

Renewables are attracting substantial investment and developers are getting more bang for the buck, but none of it is enough to be consistent with the goals of the Paris climate agreement, per a data-rich new report from the Frankfurt School, the UN and BloombergNEF.

The big picture: Last year saw 184 gigawatts of new capacity added worldwide (excluding large hydro projects) — the most ever — with solar leading the way. The 12% growth came even though total investment was flat, a sign of continued cost declines for wind and solar technologies.

Threat level: The pandemic is creating near-term headwinds for growth.

Yes, but: Even putting the pandemic problems aside, the analysis says the long-term investment picture is not robust enough. From the report...

"Governments and companies around the world have committed to adding some 826 gigawatts of new non-hydro renewable power capacity in the decade to 2030, at a likely cost of around $1 trillion."
"Those commitments fall far short of what would be needed to limit world temperature increases to less than 2 degrees Celsius. They also look modest compared to the $2.7 trillion invested during the 2010-2019 decade."

What's next: Per the authors, what should be next is for governments to stitch low-carbon energy initiatives into their pandemic response plans.

  • "If governments take advantage of the ever-falling price tag of renewables to put clean energy at the heart of COVID-19 economic recovery, instead of subsidizing the recovery of fossil-fuel industries, they can take a big step towards clean energy and a healthy natural world," it states.

Go deeper: Renewable energy group declares cost "turning point"

Go deeper

Updated Sep 17, 2020 - Axios Events

Watch: The economics of renewable energy

On Thursday, September 17, Axios' Amy Harder hosted a conversation on the growth of clean energy and sustainability, featuring Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Amazon's Head of Worldwide Sustainability Kara Hurst.

Gov. Inslee discussed efforts within Washington to address climate change, its impact on fires in Washington state and the role of renewable energy in the state.

  • On the role of climate change in recent fires: "These fires are incredibly cataclysmic. The solution to this, of course...[is that] we need to reduce this climate change. It is the ultimately cataclysmic situation we face in Washington."
  • On President Trump's attitude to renewable energy: "He has tried to throw up a roadblock against any development of renewables industries. He's got an allergy to good ideas and infatuation with deception. He's downplayed climate change, just like he downplayed COVID."

Kara Hurst unpacked Amazon's aims to hit carbon neutrality in 2040 and its efforts to help companies develop climate-friendly technologies through a $2 billion venture fund.

  • On partnering with oil and gas producers to achieve climate change goals: "Amazon, like every other company you just mentioned — Google, Microsoft, many tech companies — works across a wide variety of industries. And I believe it's absolutely necessary to work with those types of industries to create transformation."
  • On recent research at Amazon on the sustainability of online shopping: "Online grocery deliveries can generate 43% lower carbon emissions per item as compared to shopping in stores."

Axios co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei hosted a View from the Top segment with Vinson & Elkins Head of Renewables Practice Group Kaam Sahely, who discussed the surge in demand for renewable energy and the growth of the sector.

  • "The demand [for renewable energy] is almost insatiable. It's not that it's completely without regards to government regulation...The demand for renewable energy continues to rise."

Thank you Vinson & Elkins for sponsoring this event.

Amazon stakes climate tech startups

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Amazon just named the first recipients of money from the $2 billion venture fund it rolled out in June to help companies develop climate friendly technologies.

Driving the news: Amazon, which has pledged to have "net zero" emissions by 2040, said on Thursday morning initial recipients are...

Updated 13 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:15 a.m. ET: 30,539,903 — Total deaths: 952,629— Total recoveries: 20,800,482Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:15 a.m. ET: 6,726,353 — Total deaths: 198,603 — Total recoveries: 2,556,465 — Total tests: 92,163,649Map.
  3. Politics: In reversal, CDC again recommends coronavirus testing for asymptomatic people.
  4. Health: The dwindling chances of eliminating COVID-19 — Massive USPS face mask operation called off The risks of moving too fast on a vaccine.
  5. Business: Unemployment drop-off reverses course 1 million mortgage-holders fall through safety netHow the pandemic has deepened Boeing's 737 MAX crunch.
  6. Education: At least 42% of school employees are vulnerable.