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Carbon Reduction AND Economic Growth

Big news last week from the International Energy Agency shows some promising data – for the first time the world has seen a leveling off of emissions combined with economic growth.

The previous three years in which overall emissions declined coincided with years of economic pullback, which makes sense. Reduced economic growth reduces demand for products and services, which decreases overall energy demand.

What is key from the most recent findings, however, is that in 2014, the economy grew by 3 percent, while emissions remained overall about the same as in 2013.

Scientists are careful to not declare this a “trend”, but it’s great news nonetheless. The data show what many have said for years – that reduced emissions and economic growth are not mutually exclusive.

Separate, but related, we also took note of the findings of the 10th Annual US Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing trends report. Among the many key findings, the report notes that:

“US sustainable, responsible and impact investing (SRI) has grown substantially over the past two years. The total US-domiciled assets under management using SRI strategies expanded from $3.74 trillion at the start of 2012 to $6.57 trillion at the start of 2014, an increase of 76 percent. These assets now account for more than one out of every six dollars under professional management in the United States.”

So, we’re seeing progress on the industrial side of emissions reductions while at the same time investors are driving demand for sustainable investments. We’ve come a long way from even a decade ago, when such talk of “going green” was roundly dismissed by the industrial and financial communities.

What’s best of all? The best is still yet to come. Cleantech companies, like those in the algae industry, continue to develop and commercialize technologies for a range of products in the energy/fuel, agriculture, human health and chemicals markets.

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