The world needs to invest about $3.5 trillion per year to keep global average temperatures from rising to dangerous levels, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. So far, we’re not even close.
Despite a record $370 billion investment in wind and solar last year, that’s just a fraction of what’s necessary to decarbonize the energy sector. Most of the trillions needed will go toward scaling up known technologies—solar, wind, batteries, smart grids, transmission lines, and energy efficiency—but those fixes have their limits.
The targets adopted in the Paris climate accords imply emissions should drop by half within a decade, and reach net-zero by mid-century to keep temperatures from rising 1.5° Celsius above pre-industrial levels. That will require an unprecedented economic transition.