UN: Global clean energy investments to rise in 2011

Brazil, China and India are expected to fuel global investments in clean energy in 2011 that are expected to reach US$240 billion, the head of a United Nation's green economy initiative said Wednesday.

The UN's environmental unit (UNEP) said investment in renewable energy hit US$180-US$200 billion in 2010 up from US$162 billion in 2009, driven by the three countries.

The increased investments are because sustainable energy is gaining momentum as governments seek cheaper sources — such as solar, wind and ethanol — to cushion against rising oil prices.

"Investment may be close to US$240 billion in clean energy that includes energy efficiency and renewable energy," said Pavan Sukhdev, head of UNEP's Green Economy initiative.

The United Nations says greening energy supplies needs over US$360 billion annually.

Adverse effects of climate change have forced countries to look for ways of cutting gas emissions and encouraging eco-friendly systems, Sukhdev told Reuters.

He said the United Nations had a European Union grant to help seven African countries including Kenya, South Africa, and Burkina Faso to formulate policies that would enable the transition to a green economy.

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