PARIS—Investors should move their assets from fossil fuels to renewable energy not just for social or moral reasons, former Vice President Al Gore said here moments ago, but for their own financial health.
“Investors need to look at the pattern that is unfolding lest they be trapped holding stranded assets,” Gore told about a thousand reporters and diplomats gathered at COP 21, the Paris Climate Conference.
Smart investors already know, Gore said, there are many pathways to stranding. The UN climate effort is one, the effort by provinces that have launched carbon markets is another, and economic inevitability is the third:
“Another pathway to stranding is precisely this dramatic cost down-curve for renewable energy that is competing directly with carbon sources.”
Gore mentioned Warren Buffet’s purchase this summer of solar energy at 3.87 cents per kilowatt hour, the cheapest energy price in the U.S. In energy markets, it matters a lot which form of energy is cheaper, even a tiny bit cheaper. And soon, he argued, renewables will be cheaper than fossil fuels.
“The explosive growth in demand once that threshold of cheaper-than is crossed is remarkable,” Gore said, it’s already here in some regions, and it’s coming soon in others.
Goldman Sachs released a report this week that predicted
“Those of you who pay attention to the energy markets and the energy economy know what an incredibly powerful development for energy markets was caused by that sudden addition of fractured gas,” Gore said.
But the switch to renewables will be greater because they do not incur the extraction cost of fossil fuels. Once capital costs are recovered, the energy they generate is free.