Just a year before the rearranged United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), to be held in Glasgow, the City of London Corporation, in collaboration with the Green Finance Institute, and supported by the World Economic Forum, is hosting a major summit focusing on the role of green finance in the recovery from COVID-19.
The virtual summit taking place in London between 9 – 11 November is focusing on the role of financial services in supporting a green recovery and an economy-wide transition to net zero. It will also explore how capital can be mobilised at the pace and scale needed to meet not only the UK’s commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050 but also international climate commitments.
However, some of the signs are not encouraging. According to an analysis for The Guardian (reported today) only a handful of major countries are pumping rescue funds into low-carbon efforts such as renewable power, electric vehicles and energy efficiency.
In at least 18 of the world’s biggest economies, more than six months on from the first wave of lockdowns in the early spring, pandemic rescue packages are dominated by spending that has a harmful environmental impact, such as bailouts for oil or new high-carbon infrastructure, outweighing the positive climate benefits of any green spending, according to the analysis.
Only four countries – France, Spain, the UK and Germany – and the EU have packages that will produce a net environmental benefit.
Incoming US President Biden wants to boost renewable energy, powering the US entirely through clean energy by 2035 and reaching net zero emissions by 2050, investing $1.7tn over the next decade, with the expectation of private investment taking the total to $5tn. However, his plans must pass a possible hostile Republican controlled Senate and could face opposition from some states and possible legal challenges from some US businesses.
The Guardian also reports that Climate Action Tracker (CAT), an independent scientific analysis, found that governments in many countries, far from prioritising low-carbon growth, were bolstering carbon-intensive industries and loosening environmental regulations.
Niklas Höhne, of the New Climate Institute (https://newclimate.org/ ) one of the partner organisations behind CAT and based in Cologne, warned: “What we’re seeing more of is governments using the pandemic recovery to roll back climate legislation and bail out the fossil fuel industry, especially in the US, but also in Brazil, Mexico, Australia, South Africa, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia and other countries.”
ACE will be discussing how we can make the most of the Green Recovery at our zoom conference on Saturday 14 November. For details go to: http://acesettleandarea.org/events/
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