DuPont's experience shows how fickle regulators chill climate investments

|By:, SA News Editor

Fear of fickle regulators is discouraging companies from investing in climate-change initiatives: Companies invested on average 22% less in emissions reductions in 2013 than in the prior year, as 90% of companies responding to a recent survey cited regulatory risk as a barrier to investment.

DuPont (DD), for example, says regulatory surprises mean it is facing the prospect of smaller markets and longer payback periods than originally anticipated on two projects in the U.S. and Europe.

"If you do a longer term investment in the industry, it takes years to build a full scale plant," a frustrated DuPont exec tells WSJ. "You want to have a payback. We can’t put hundreds of millions of dollars in a full-scale plant then see the law change and there is no market any more.”