Saving the planet may not seem like the quickest path to riches. Yet plenty of investors are betting that sustainable energy will make them lots of money. Already the sector is fast becoming a multibillion-dollar industry, giving companies the chance to boost their profit margins and help fight climate change at the same time. Taking advantage of this investment revolution, a wave of European firms has pioneered alternative energy technology to help make Europe the world leader in reducing carbon emissions.

The fight against climate change has definitely become big business. According to London-based research firm New Carbon Finance, public and private investment in the global renewable-energy sector will top $90 billion in 2007, a 27% increase over the year before.

The U.N. Environment Program (UNEP) says Europe remains the top spot for investment, receiving $27.1 billion in 2006, while the U.S. came in second, with $22.5 billion. An estimated $27.9 billion was set aside last year for financing renewable energy projects around the world, and $18 billion in 180 investment funds is now focused on sustainable energy.


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