Biggest investments in carbon-based energy

Op-Ed: Here’s how companies can strong-arm their suppliers into cutting carbon emissions

By the end of the year, we’ll see the first coal-fired generators shuttering in the United States. They’ll replace their nuclear fuel with mostly natural gas, and the electricity they generate will be cleaner, cheaper, and more affordable.

But the transition won’t happen if businesses don’t buy from those who have the technology.

“If we want to have clean energy systems that will last to the end of time, those systems must incorporate the world’s best resources and technologies,” says Bob Hetrick, president and CEO of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA). “IEEFA provides a way to measure and compare those resources and technologies side by side.”

In September, IEEFA released its findings for the third annual Carbon Disclosure Project Report, a report that measures the carbon dioxide emissions and investment in the technologies required to meet the Paris Accord.

The report measured six of the world’s current carbon-emissions leaders — the US, China, India, Indonesia, Canada, and Brazil. It was the first of its kind, and found that the countries that are on track to meet their Kyoto commitment, and reduce emissions to a more-favorable global average, are not the same as those that have not.

The report analyzed investment, carbon emissions, and energy efficiency in a variety of sectors — from the largest economies to the smallest. The findings offer some insight into how companies can be engaged in the global clean energy sector.

Here’s a look at the biggest investments and largest companies participating in the carbon transition to replace coal power with efficiency.

Biggest investments in carbon-based energy

1. Fossil Fuel Power

For the world’s largest carbon-emissions leader, a coal-fired power plant produces 4.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide and emits the equivalent of nearly one million passenger cars per year — more carbon than the country’s aviation industry emits per year. China accounts for almost 60 percent of annual greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels, which is why the country is on track to meet the Paris Agreement’s first-year target.

The largest coal

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