Green Money

It’s been just over a year since HSBC set up the first climate change index. This is an index of 390 companies that profit from tackling global warming. The firms were from a range of fields including renewable energies, biofuels, carbon trading, power storage and building insulation.

After a year, the index is doing well – it grew as a percentage of global market capitalization to 4 percent from 2.5 percent, with revenues of $300 billion. Next year could be tougher, according to the NYTimes, as shares in alternative energy companies have fallen faster than the rest of stock market in recent months. The alternative fuel sector does best when oil is costly and research investment is plentiful, and recession concerns and the credit crunch have eliminated both. If green tech bottoms out, it won’t be the first time: the same thing happened in the 1980s, when a decade of advances for alternative energy collapsed amid falling prices for fossil fuels.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.