The Renewables 2007 Global Status Report, published by global policy network REN21 in collaboration with the Worldwatch Institute, was produced by an international team of more than 140 researchers.

It found that in 2007, more than $100bn was invested in new renewable energy capacity, manufacturing plants, and research and development.

Worldwide renewable electricity generation capacity reached an estimated 240 gigawatts – an increase of 50% from 2004 levels.

The largest component of renewables generation capacity was wind power, which grew by 28% worldwide in 2007 to reach an estimated 95 gigawatts.

Among the other headlines in the report were that the fastest growing energy technology in the world was grid-connected solar photovoltaics, while production of biofuels exceeded an estimated 53bn litres in 2007, up 43% from 2005.

“So much has happened in the renewable energy sector during the past five years that the perceptions of some politicians and energy-sector analysts lag far behind the reality of where the renewables industry is today,” said Mohamed El-Ashry, chair of REN21.

However, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies found the year 2007 tied with 1998 as the second warmest year in a century, with an average global temperature of 14.57 degrees Celsius.

Scientists said the average global temperature last year was nearly 0.6 degrees Celsius greater than the average between 1951 and 1980.

“As we predicted last year, 2007 was warmer than 2006, continuing the strong warming trend of the past 30 years that has been confidently attributed to the effect of increasing human-made greenhouse gases,” said James Hansen, director of the institute.

The eight warmest years in the institute’s record have all occurred since 1998, and the 14 warmest years in the record have all occurred since 1990.

Kate Martin

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