Though the debate over climate change may rage on in this country, it seems that nations around the world are increasingly taking steps to counteract it by investing in renewable energy sources. The United Nations released a report yesterday that estimated the total amount of money spent on green energy across the globe at $257 billion.
With the global investment in renewable energy programs coming to $210 billion in 2010, the new figure shows an increase of just over 17 percent overall. The numbers varied widely between different forms of green technology, though, with solar energy spending coming in at $147 billion, according to The Associated Press. Making up over half of green investment in general, that amount is also 52 percent the previous year's estimate.
The source notes that 2011 was a prosperous, but incredibly competitive year for solar power producers. Part of the industry's growth can reportedly be attributed to the demand that Italy, China, Britain, Germany and Italy had for rooftop photovoltaic installations, or solar panels.
In 2011, many solar energy industries went out of business, including Solyndra, which received national attention after filing for bankruptcy even after receiving a hefty federal loan in 2009. However, the report indicates that that is an example of the "growing pains" that industries experience, just as the car industry was initially flooded with over 500 companies before settling on a handful of quality manufacturers.
The overall investment increase, while positive, fell short of the 32 percent rise between 2010 and 2011. However, according to the head of the U.N. Environment Program, it was still "an indication that renewable energy is drawing level with fossil fuels in some markets," the media outlet posits. But for now, fossil fuels and other more conventional modes of energy production are still dominating the marketplace, with renewable energy only accounting for 16.7 percent of 2010 global energy consumption.