When it comes to funding the energy transition in developing countries investment levels are falling, according to BloombergNEF’s annual Climatescope study. The sharp fall over the past 12 months has been largely attributed to a slowdown in China, and although the direction of travel is still moving toward renewable energy, the shift is ‘not nearly fast enough to limit global CO2 emissions or the consequences of climate change’. And worryingly, the amount of coal-fired power being generated and consumed is rising. Across the 104 emerging markets studied, coal accounted for nearly 50% of all generation.

“The transition from coal toward cleaner sources in developing nations is underway,” said Ethan Zindler, head of Americas at BNEF. “But like trying to turn a massive oil tanker, it takes time.”

Emerging market clean energy project investment

So what of the Paris Agreement promise by richer nations to provide ‘$100 billion north-south funding’ to support sustainable growth in developing countries? The Climatescope research indicates far more needs to be done here. With the 2019 UN climate negotiations at COP in Madrid getting underway in a matter of days, world leaders must now face up to this challenge and ensure action is taken to get money to where it is needed most.