This post originally appeared on Climate Home.
It’s widely accepted that by the year 2050, the world needs to be approaching net-zero carbon if the goals of the Paris climate deal are to survive.
This long term rallying point, laid down by experts, has been followed by political commitments from countries, cities, and businesses. But much of the thinking on financing this ambition remains stuck in the short term.
Meeting these goals will require enormous progress on energy efficiency, decarbonisation of electricity and fuels, electrification of most transport fleets, building, and industry energy needs.
It will also need massive investments in electricity generating capacity, grid infrastructure, and storage, as well as in both zero-emissions and carbon negative solutions including nuclear energy, carbon capture and storage, soil carbon sequestration, and afforestation and reforestation.
But, despite rapidly increasing clarity on the array of climate solutions needed, the investment implications of achieving midcentury decarbonisation are less understood beyond the need to “scale-up”.
Given the fundamental role finance plays in all facets of the global economy, it’s time to ask: How does a focus on 2050 change how we spend money today?