Global Clean Energy Consensus in Summer of Strife

In the midst of a summer of strife that brought an international air disaster in a Ukrainian war zone, the first Ebola epidemic the world has ever known, another Palestinian - Israeli flare up and Mideast reprise of extremist beheadings and air strikes, renewable energy web watchers latched onto one unifying headline:  'Global Investment in Clean Energy Surges'. At last a Bloomberg New Energy Finance press release offered a reprieve from the science-fiction-sounding script of unstoppable deaths, injuries and destruction amid the Earth's ultimate oil lands.

clean energy investments Q2-2014

The investment bump would be truly newsworthy except for two facts. Looking back at global investment over the last two years, several hours of web search (example Greentechmedia), indicate that global trending investments over the last couple of years appear down and in the US flat. In the second place, the headline numbers include nuclear and natural gas which are not by some standards considered clean, at least not when it comes to CO2 emissions or manufacture, transport and disposal of radioactive materials, not to mention nuclear power plant disasters.

Such hindsight pointed to Q2, when the global consumer index increased one point to 97 in the second quarter of 2014, marking the highest level since first-quarter 2007 according to information and measurement focused Nielsen. But by September the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index had begun to decline and by September 30 stood at 86.0 (1985=100), down from 93.4 in August.

In comparison, Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final index of US sentiment increased to 84.6, suggesting that consumer confidence withstood the dreadful events of the past summer (see Bloomberg). One could surmise that US confidence doesn't seem a key driver of clean technology investment at home.