In a significant session on the second day of B20, a premier engagement group of the G20 program representing global businesses, industry and finance leaders convened to delve into the urgent matter of "Financing The Climate Transition." The session, moderated by Lynn Forester de Rothschild, CEO of E.L. Rothschild, witnessed a comprehensive dialogue addressing the imperative to mobilize resources and cooperation from both the public and private sectors to effectively tackle climate change challenges.
Leadership and Collaboration at the Forefront
The session began with expressions of gratitude towards India, the host nation, and the pivotal role it plays as a global leader, not only in terms of being the largest democracy but also its contributions to the world. The esteemed panel comprised Bernard Looney (CEO, BP UK), Uday Kotak (CEO, Kotak Mahindra Bank), Mark Tucker (Group Chairman, HSBC Holdings UK), Mark Carney (UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance), Verena Lim (CEO, Macquarie Group Asia), T. V. Narendran (CEO and MD, Tata Steels), and moderator Lynn Forester de Rothschild.
Collectively, the panel of experts delved into questions such as - Can Public & Private Sectors Forge a Strong Climate Partnership? What's the Economic Upside of Going Green? How Can Developing Nations Secure Funds for Climate Initiatives?
The B20 session discussed the potential of a robust partnership between public and private sectors to drive the climate transition. Industry leaders emphasized that embracing sustainability isn't just an environmental imperative but a strategic economic move. The transition to green economies presents a promising economic upside, with the creation of millions of jobs and substantial contributions to global GDP. The discussion also emphasized the significance of funding climate initiatives in developing nations. Collaborative efforts between multilateral institutions and private enterprises were proposed as a way to ensure access to funds needed for sustainable projects, fostering global equity in climate action.
Recognizing the Complexities
The discourse emphasized that addressing climate change is not solely about reducing greenhouse gases or adhering to temperature targets; it involves understanding the holistic impact on societies, economies, energy prices, national security, and the workforce. The session emphasized the significance of encompassing both environmental and social aspects, echoing the call from Pope Francis's Laudato Si to heed the "cry of the earth and the cry of the poor."
Enormity of the Challenge
Statistics underscored the urgency. The global economy is heavily reliant on nature, with 44% of economic activity and 40% of jobs linked to climate-dependent industries. However, the resources required to rectify the situation are colossal. Estimates indicate a need for $200 trillion or $7 trillion annually to transition towards sustainability. While strides have been made in mobilizing finance—around $4.8 trillion from 2011 to 2020—it falls short of what's required.
Opportunities in Transition
Shifting toward a sustainable economy will not only mitigate climate risks but also generate significant economic growth and employment opportunities. The World Economic Forum anticipates the creation of 365 million jobs through a clean economy transition, contributing $10 trillion to annual economic growth.
Governments, Multilateral Institutions, and Private Sector Synergy
Mark Carney, celebrated for his contribution to climate action, discussed the pivotal role of governments and multilateral institutions in channeling finance effectively. He underscored the need for development banks to transition from merely lending to catalyzing capital flows, using mechanisms like guarantees and subordination. Moreover, focus on transition finance, particularly in hard-to-abate sectors, was deemed crucial for a successful, inclusive shift.
Private Sector's Dual Role in the Transition
Bernard Looney shared insights from BP's journey to transition beyond petroleum. He highlighted the dual responsibility the private sector holds—to invest in accelerating the energy transition and simultaneously invest responsibly in existing hydrocarbon systems. Noting that an "end, not or" strategy is pivotal, Looney pointed out the necessity of an orderly transition to prevent supply-demand mismatches and economic instability.
The B20 session highlighted the pressing need for collaboration between public and private sectors to finance the global climate transition. The discussions underscored the importance of a holistic approach that considers both environmental and social implications, while acknowledging the complex economic landscape. With the guidance of industry leaders and the imperative for an inclusive and balanced approach, the path to a sustainable future becomes clearer, offering hope for a climate-resilient world.
As discussions continue within the B20 and beyond, it is evident that the challenges of financing the climate transition require a coordinated effort, innovative solutions, and a collective commitment to safeguarding the planet for future generations.