“No challenge – no challenge – poses a greater thread to future generations than climate change”
Obama already warned in a speech in 2015 that climate change was the greatest challenge for the future of mankind. The world population is only slowly becoming aware of the threatening situation and solutions are not available on demand. The rise in surface temperatures, the effects on the polar ice caps and global ecosystems are just a few examples of the effects of climate change. These developments are slowly leading the public to realise that we are at the beginning of an exponential, self-accelerating development. Society is becoming aware of the need to act through media-streaming actions such as the “Fridays for Future” protests. However, the appropriate approach and tools for implementation are not yet available.
Since the Industrial Revolution, financing of equity or debt has made human progress possible. In its role as a catalyst for global financial flows, the capital market plays a key role. If it functions efficiently, all investments are placed at the location with the highest productivity. In the context of climate protection, however, this is not the case, for example with the emission of greenhouse gases. This can be seen, among other things, from the worldwide loss statistics with 850 events from natural catastrophes in 2018 for insurance companies. This problem has led to the development of green investments, in which debt or equity capital is used for climate-neutral purposes.
Public funding is particularly necessary for research with unclear results, as experience has shown that private investors behave risk-averse and demand stable framework conditions. In countries with a high level of environmental awareness, the public sector is already providing funding for research and development. The problem with public funding is that there is a “free rider” problem between countries according to which the country that invests the least in climate protection benefits most economically in the short term.
“We know that enormous public and private investment is required for the transition to a low-carbon, green economy.”
In order to achieve the transformation to a CO2 neutral economy quoted here, it is important to show financial investors professionally tested and optimised investment opportunities. Hydrogen is an important application that received little attention at the time of writing. As an energy carrier and part of the sector coupling for renewable energies in the energy sector as well as in mobile use, it offers opportunities. To date, there is no well-founded overview of investment opportunities in companies and their technologies in this sector. The lack of structured information and the high level of uncertainty about return opportunities and risk have a deterrent effect on investors. High information asymmetries with regard to the technology or the sector itself can represent an exclusion criterion for an investment. In addition, it has not been examined whether a portfolio of hydrogen shares can be created that meets the usual market quality criteria.
These factors represent a restriction for investors and their capital, as they cannot compare the hydrogen sector as part of the energy industry with other investments. The technology is not widespread enough to create confidence in companies and the functioning of the technology through the daily use of consumers.