Financing the Clean Revolution
- 21 September 2010
Influential business and political leaders gathered in The New York
Public Library to launch Climate Week NYC yesterday – The Climate
Group’s annual global forum to mobilize an international public-private
response to climate change – held on the sidelines of the United Nations
General Assembly. This week over 100 world leaders are gathering in New
York to review progress towards the UN’s Millennium Development Goals
including poverty relief, building a sustainable global economy and
clean energy access for all. Action to tackle climate change underpins
many of these goals.
This year’s Opening Ceremony asked how the global markets for key low carbon technologies could be unleashed – from LED lighting, smart grids, and electric vehicles to carbon capture and storage and renewable energy:
what government policies and public-private partnerships are required
to unlock the necessary finance to kick start a clean industrial
“Climate Week NYC 2010 provides an essential
global platform to discuss the fundamental changes needed in the way we
produce and consume energy," said Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group
which runs the secretariat for the week. "Cutting greenhouse gas
emissions in half by 2050 will require investment of US$45 trillion.
Financing of this magnitude will require the biggest public-private
partnership of all time but will unlock a clean industrial revolution
that will be good for the economy, good for jobs and good for the
Two months ahead of the UN’s climate talks in Cancun (COP16),
Climate Week NYC provides a platform for business, government and
citizens to reopen the dialogue and demonstrate their support for a
global successor to the Kyoto Protocol, to be negotiated in Mexico from 28 November to 12 December 2010.
Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Christiana Figueres told those assembled that taking more action to address climate change will be to the benefit of all countries and all peoples.
said that despite the financial crisis investment in clean technologies
has continued to grow. “Investors are putting their money to the
winning investments of tomorrow,” she said.
Quebec Premier Jean Charest
identified the important role that State and Regional Governments will
play in bringing about the clean revolution, representing the efforts of
The Climate Group’s States and Regions Alliance. He told Christiana
Figueres that subnational governments would be at the UN climate summit
in Cancun at the end of the year to support the UN. He highlighted their
commitment to planning 1 billion trees and working with the United
Nations to support developing countries develop climate change action
The World Bank’s Special Climate Change Envoy Andrew Steer
said that the financial promises made by governments in at last year’s
UN climate talks in Copenhagen must be delivered. He emphasised that
firm government commitments were needed to stimulate even greater
financial contributions from the private sector and ensure “billions” of
clean energy investment were turned into “trillions”.
Philanthropist and financier George Soros
said that he had thought there were already “lots of cooks in the
kitchen” on climate change but that after attending the UN negotiations
in Copenhagen last year he realised that the gap between what needs to
happen and current efforts was becoming too great and that without
multilateral action this gap would get wider. As a result he said he
would focus his own efforts on practical actions including a focus on
forestry and taking carbon out of coal.
Dale Seymour, Senior Vice President of the Global CCS Institute
- a Climate Week NYC partner, told attendees of the need for private
capital to support public funds to enable the deployment of power
stations with carbon capture and storage. He launched a report funded by
the Institute in partnership with Ecofin and The Climate Group that
outlines key conditions to securing finance for CCS projects.
Alan Salzman of VantagePoint Venture Partners
injected a sense of optimism: “Solutions are at hand. We have seen
solutions in lighting, energy efficiency, power points, electric
vehicles and next generation wind turbines. Now we need to deploy them
Tracy Wolstencroft, Partner and Global Head of Environmental Markets at Goldman Sachs, said that for companies to be successful they need to have a “low RE” or low resistance to change.
Prince Albert II of Monaco announced that he would chair the EV20,
a new global alliance of manufacturers, fleet owners, financial
institutions and government leaders convened by The Climate Group which
seeks to increase the size of the global market for plug-in electric
ClimateWeek NYC represents a unique partnership between The Climate Group (secretariat), United Nations, UN Foundation, City of New York, New York Public Library, New York Academy of Science, the tcktcktck campaign and Carbon Disclosure Project.
Swiss Re is the founding sponsor of ClimateWeek NYC 2010 and HSBC is strategic sponsor. Other supporting sponsors in 2010 include the Global CCS Institute, Dutch Postcode Lottery, Edelman, Timberland and NASDAQ.
Climate Group – an international NGO working with business and
government leaders on climate change – is once again leading the week’s
activities and acting as secretariat for other Climate Week NYC partner
and affiliate collaborations.