German investors to launch $550 billion solar project

The Republicans are probably right. Nobody, but nobody cares about climate change and there is no money to be made here. There’s not a business opportunity at all and the corporate world will never care about this issue so it’s best letting someone else invest money in new technology because it will only be a failed venture. Better let Big Oil dictate environmental policy because they’ve always been fair and good for America. Who wants progress that would create new jobs anyway? Bah!

The consortium behind what would be the biggest ever solar energy initiative will first raise awareness and interest among other investors for the project, known as Desertec, which is estimated to cost around €400bn (£338bn).

Torsten Jeworrek, board member of Munich Re, the German reinsurer which is leading the project, said: “We want to found an initiative which over the next two to three years will put concrete measures on the table.”

Like other reinsurers, Munich Re has said it is expecting to face mounting claims in the coming years for damage caused by climate change.

The companies – including Siemens, Deutsche Bank, and the energy companies RWE and E.on – will meet on July 13 in Munich to draw up an agreement. German government ministries as well as the Club of Rome, a Zurich-based NGO of leading scientists, managers and politicians which advocates sustainable development, are also expected to be present.

It is seen as particularly significant that the companies aim to start the expensive initiative in the midst of a financial crisis. But although none of the companies is keen to go into detail yet about their involvement, they stress that the project is a chance for them to drive forward the fight against climate change and in doing so to position themselves at the top of the green technology industry. Germany, despite its relative lack of sun, has become a leader in solar energy.

What’s that? Insurance companies are investing because they foresee problems ahead with payouts related to climate change? And leading businesses are investing heavily during the worst economic crisis in decades? Could it be so? Are Republicans shaking in their boots because they can’t handle any change of the status quo? Are they failing to adapt to the modern world, again? Say it ain’t so.

There’s a difference between talking up a big, bold story and actually doing it. The Republicans like to whip up macho talk as they bash environmentalists as they hide behind their fear of change. The Germans are actually offering serious change and putting their money behind it instead of same old, same old. Germany, like any country including the US, makes mistakes but maybe, just maybe, we could learn a few lessons in this instance.

An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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