EU leads world in total renewable generation, clean tech IPOs, wind energy patents

In advance of United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) a new report for the first time analyses and ranks the economic and energy performance of the world’s 50 largest GHG emitting nations.


Next 10’s Green Innovation Index, International Edition charts country GDP, emissions, energy productivity, renewable energy generation, clean tech investments and other key metrics. The European Union collectively, and its individual nations, leads the world on several critical indicators.

“Some of the world’s largest economies are now decoupling economic growth and energy use, actually growing their GDPs while shrinking their carbon footprints. Last year marked the first time we’ve been able to say conclusively that a drop in global carbon emissions was caused by something other than an economic downtown,” said F. Noel Perry, businessman and founder of the nonpartisan nonprofit group Next 10 (

In observance of Climate Week Paris and on the eve of the Business & Climate Summit at UNESCO headquarters, Perry will present the new report findings Tuesday to an international audience including business and government leaders and journalists at a reception at the Hotel de Talleyrand in Paris.

Among the report highlights the European Union ranks as the:

  • #1 producer of renewable energy.
  • #2 in global electric vehicle sales (2014); accounting for 30 percent of sales worldwide.
  • #1 in clean tech IPOs (2014).
  • #2 in clean tech venture capital, attracting just over $1 billion in 2014.
  • #1 in wind energy patents.
  • #2 in clean tech patents, with 11,000 registered in 2014.
  • Five EU countries (France, Italy, U.K., Spain, and Germany) and the EU collectively rank in the global “top ten” lowest carbon intensity (emissions per dollar of GDP).
  • Five EU countries (Italy, U.K., France, Germany, and Spain) and the EU collectively rank in the global “top ten” most energy productive countries (measured as GDP per unit of energy expended).
  • EU countries (Denmark, Spain, Germany and Italy) and the EU collectively rank tops worldwide with the largest share of electricity from renewable sources.
  • While the EU ranks third in total GHG emissions, from 1990-2012, the EU decreased per capita carbon emissions by 17 percent while growing GDP per person by 36 percent.

“This year’s Green Innovation Index, International Edition tracks a clear shift to clean energy around the world. Although fossil fuels still represent a significant portion of our overall energy use, many analysts believe we have reached an important tipping point—globally, we are now adding more capacity for renewable power annually than fossil fuels,” said Doug Henton, chairman and CEO of Collaborative Economics, which developed the Index for Next 10.

The Green Innovation Index, International Edition shows how this transition is playing out for the world’s top 50 emitters of greenhouse gases. Among these nations, plus California:

  • Spain, Germany, Italy, California, Philippines, the EU, Belgium, Netherlands, U.K. and Greece have the greatest share of electricity from renewable sources among top emitters (in order).
  • France leads the world in lowest carbon intensity; Uzbekistan is highest (GHG per GDP).
  • U.S. (with California), the EU, Japan, South Korea, Germany, California, China, Taiwan, France and U.K. (in order) are top ten in clean technology patents (2014).
  • Clean tech venture capital investment declined in the EU (-10 percent), France (-43 percent), Canada (-19 percent), India (-4 percent) and Israel (-11 percent) from 2013-14.
  • U.S. clean tech venture capital investment grew 74 percent (2013-14), California 153 percent.
  • Nigeria has the lowest emissions per capita, total energy and electricity use per capita and highest energy productivity (GDP per energy unit). From 1990-2012 energy per capita decreased nearly 26 percent.
  • France, California, and Italy have the lowest carbon intensive economies in the world.
  • Nigeria, Italy, Japan, U.K. and California lead the world in energy productivity (dollars generated per unit of energy).

This week marks the kick off of Climate Week in Paris—a historic gathering of worldwide business and policy leaders. Through events like the Business & Climate Summit, at UNESCO offices in Paris, leaders will highlight business and policy solutions for decarbonizing the economy. These events come in the wake of the International Energy Agency’s announcement suggesting that the process of decoupling economic growth from GHG emissions is already underway, since the global economy grew in 2014 but carbon emissions did not. The Business & Climate Summit is one of a string of international events building momentum towards a climate agreement at a key UN Climate Summit to be held later this year, also in Paris.

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Next 10 is an independent, nonpartisan organization that educates, engages and empowers Californians to improve the state’s future. With a focus on the intersection between the economy, the environment, and quality of life, Next 10 employs research from leading experts on complex state issues and creates a portfolio of nonpartisan educational materials to foster a deeper understanding of the critical issues affecting our state.

Collaborative Economics (, which compiled the data for the Green Innovation Index, is a Silicon Valley-based research and consulting organization. CoEcon works with businesses, foundations, government, education, and community sectors to do leading edge innovation and clean economy analysis for states and regions across the country.