Plunging prices for renewable energy and rapidly increasing investment in low-carbon technologies could leave fossil fuel companies with trillions in stranded assets and spark a global financial crisis, a new study has found.
A sudden drop in demand for fossil fuels before 2035 is likely, according to the study, given the current global investments and economic advantages in a low-carbon transition.
The existence of a “carbon bubble” – assets in fossil fuels that are currently overvalued because, in the medium and long-term, the world will have to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions – has long been proposed by academics, activists and investors. The new study, published on Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, shows that a sharp slump in the value of fossil fuels would cause this bubble to burst, and posits that such a slump is likely before 2035 based on current patterns of energy use.
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