The renewable energy industry has seen record investment since 2010 but the transition is still too slow to meet climate targets, according to a new report.

A quadrupling of renewables capacity globally has been achieved on the back of nearly US$2.6 trillion of investment over the past decade, the report commissioned by UN Environment’s Economy Division shows. Solar power accounting for about half. The Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2019 report, released in advance of this month’s UN Global Climate Action Summit, also reveals that last year renewables generated around 13% of global electricity – ‘avoiding 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions’.

China tops the league when it comes to investment, with US$758 billion between 2010 and the first half of this year. America is second at US$356 billion and Japan third on US$202 billion. In total Europe spent US$698 billion on renewables capacity during the same period.

“Investing in renewable energy is investing in a sustainable and profitable future, as the last decade of incredible growth in renewables has shown,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme. “But we cannot afford to be complacent. Global power sector emissions have risen about 10% over this period. It is clear that we need to rapidly step up the pace of the global switch to renewables if we are to meet international climate and development goals.”

The Global Trends report was commissioned by UN Environment’s Economy Division in cooperation with Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance and produced in collaboration with BloombergNEF.