Despite Trump, Green ETFs Soar in 2017

Investing comes with risk. This article is a general discussion of the merits and risks associated with these ETFs, not a specific recommendation. Speak to an investment professional and make sure your portfolio is diversified. Tim Nash owns shares of PZD. Tim does not own shares of the other ETFs mentioned in this article.

This time last year, it was hard to see a bright future for green technologies as the US prepared to inaugurate a President who dismisses climate change. But America is not the world, and nothing trumps good economics. Green investments had a banner year in 2017, outperforming most other sectors:

(all data taken from on Dec 31, 2017)

Global X Lithium & Battery Tech ETF (LIT) +63.36%

The Organics ETF (ORG) +41.20%

PowerShares Cleantech Portfolio (PZD) +30.26%

PowerShares Global Clean Energy ETF (PBD) +27.76%

Guggenheim Global Water Portfolio (CGW) +26.63%

With the US federal government stepping back on climate change leadership, other countries are stepping in to fill the void. Both China and India announced major plans to curb CO2 emissions this year, and I was hugely encouraged by the global response when the US announced it was leaving the Paris Accord.

A record $120 billion in Green Bonds were issued in 2017, funding major infrastructure projects around the world. We also saw large corporations making huge investments in renewable energy while the auto sector is playing ‘follow the Tesla’ with electric vehicle announcements.

There is still a long way to go if we are to meet the Paris Accord targets and avoid worst-case climate scenarios, but I’m encouraged because market forces are now taking over in the green transition. Clean technologies are competing strongly and should continue to grow much faster than their dirty counterparts, regardless of who sits in the White House.


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