Two major events at Climate Week Paris set to show investment is heart of low carbon economy

Clare Saxon Ghauri
12 May 2015

LONDON: Green investment will be at the center of a series of high-level forums and workshops during the fast-approaching Climate Week Paris, which currently has over 25 events confirmed.

Taking place from May 18-24, Climate Week Paris is organized by The Climate Group to showcase the potential of the low carbon economy and international business support for a bold climate deal to be agreed at the Conference of the Parties (COP21) in the same city later this year.

In particular, low carbon investment will be a big focus at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) second Green Investment Financing Forum on May 19-20. Introduced by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, the forum will gather senior policymakers, global institutions and high-level investors to find solutions for unlocking the benefits of the clean economy.

“A transition to a low carbon economy is achievable,” says Simon Upton, Director, OECD Environment Directorate, “but will require a concerted, more consistent effort across a range of policy areas, from tradeable permits to stringent norms.

“By taking effective policy action now, governments collectively could avoid annual GDP losses of between 1% and 3.3% by 2060. If they don’t, these damages could mount more rapidly beyond 2060, all the while increasing the risk of passing tipping points.”

Financing the low carbon economy

Along with clear long-term policies, finance is a fundamental step to spur the necessary shift toward a low carbon economyy. This year, according to the international rating service Standard & Poor’s, companies will issue green bonds for a record US$30 billion in 2015 – boosting the growth of low carbon industry.

However, “policies rather than technologies are now holding back progress,” says Simon Upton. “OECD work on productivity and environmental regulation shows that environmentally stringent policies, which have mushroomed in recent years, are an incentive for greater innovation and efficiency, from which leading-edge companies benefit.”

To overcome such barriers, the forum organized by OECD during Climate Week Paris, will explore how to mobilize private investment financing for low carbon and climate-resilient infrastructure. In a series of high-level sessions, the participants will examine the evolving risk-return profiles for sustainable energy investments.

Other topics will range from recent domestically-oriented ‘green investment banks’ to the public financial institutions' actions to facilitate private climate finance. The forum will also discuss how to harness green bond market growth to support the low carbon transition, while analyzing the new perspectives from institutional investors on their green investment strategies.

Video: Financing action on climate change, courtesy of OECD

High-level discussion

Along with the OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, the forum boasts the presence of Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States, Chairman and Founder of Climate Reality, Tom Steyer, investor and advanced energy advocate, Dr. Faith Birol, Chief Economist & Director of Global Energy Economics, IEA and other leading figures.

After the forum, the OECD will hold a Green Investment Bank Workshop on the afternoon of May 20. The aim is to bring together existing green investment banks (GIB) and countries that are developing or considering a GIB, to share their experiences and ask questions on how to launch a GIB as well as finance energy efficiency investments. The event will include GIB executives and officials from Australia, Japan, Malaysia, UK, US and Switzerland.

OECD, in collaboration with the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, will further analyze the potentiality of the carbon markets during the informal policy dialogue on Implications and Synergies with respect to the Global Trade System on May 22. The interactive panel discussion with business representatives and policymakers will explore the case for a “carbon market club” to further enhance global collaboration in this sector.

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