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Author: Mark Leone

Climate Finance Update

Climate Finance Update

climatefinanceupdate
Source: The Overseas Development Institute (ODI)

An agreement has been signed. Climate change is happening. Now how are we going to pay for all the exciting mitigation and adaptation efforts? Here is a summary of some of the latest financial commitments made during the conference, according to UK international development think tank, The Overseas Development Institute (ODI).

The chart above shows a breakdown of the source of new commitments into three categories: private sector (banks and other corporations), energy innovation partnerships, and climate funds created by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Commitments by French banks to invest in green energy, green bonds, and low emission technology dwarf the other sources, reflecting the conclusion that the private sector will pick up a large portion of the climate finance tab. These efforts, which add up substantially over $100 billion before 2020 don’t include $140 billion worth of pledges from US companies such as Apple, Goldman Sachs, and Berkshire Hathaway, according to Bloomberg. While, less substantial the emergence of energy innovation partnerships, where countries like the US and Saudi Arabia join forces along with prominent philanthropists like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Richard Branson to support the development of clean energy technologies have gained momentum. Climate funds that enable developed countries to invest in green projects in less developed nations raised an additional $1.5 billion, according to ODI. These public commitments only reflect a small part of pledged support from developed governments. ODI estimates public finance from the developed world will contribute slightly under $20 billion per year by 2020.

The most impressive progress in terms of climate finance has been from major investment funds and asset managers. The Portfolio Decarbonisation Coalition and the Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign, which together represent $4 trillion in assets, has committed to divest from carbon intensive investments, according to ODI. Additionally, 26 public and private finance institutions across the globe with $11 trillion in assets agreed to consider the impact of their investments on the climate through creating climate strategies, considering climate risk, and emissions, according to ODI.

At the singing of the Paris agreement at least $100 billion per year in climate finance has been secured from a variety of sources by 2020, with increasingly ambitious goals set for 2025. These pledges for climate investment are supported impressively by the commitment of trillions in institutional assets that will now consider the environmental impact of their investments.

Mark

Attention On Climate Issues On Campus This December

Attention On Climate Issues On Campus This December

While, climate change may not have been on the forefront of student’s minds this finals season BananaFest and an unsuspecting Business Law assignment brought climate issues to campus. Conversations about the COP 21 in Paris this December were fairly limited on campus, aside from responses to social media posts by the student delegation to the conference. However, on Friday, December 11th at the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity house, sophomore Aidan Williams hosted BananaFest an event in honor of the delicious fruit. The event featured loaves and loaves of banana bread and was crowded with around fifty students, including graduate students and a professor. Aidan was inspired to host the event after being told by his Food, Health, and Society professor, Dr. Cassandra Quave, that he should enjoy his bananas while he could. Dr. Quave presented a mini-lecture at 12 Eagle Row Friday night informing the eager crowd of students about the risks to their beloved fruit. The current breed of bananas is in danger from panama disease that is quickly spreading across the tropics. A lack of bio-diversity of banana crops and climate change will exasperate the situation. The event was well received with over 40 posts on the BananaFest Facebook page and non-stop student questions during the Dr. Quave’s lecture.

Another climate change centric actively I encountered on campus during the first 12 days of December was an assignment to develop a sustainable business for my Business Law course. The Legal Environment of Business course at Goizueta is a core requirement taking by all students, usually in their senior year. The class is taught by Professor Allison Burdette and is beloved by many students, although not during exam season. Burdette worked as an environmental lawyer before teaching. The final assignment aims for students to apply the different legal structures of business organizations to setting up a sustainable business. While, the focus may not have been solely on sustainability, the assignment and additional coursework on environmental law pushes every business student to consider these issues and the capability of businesses to address climate issues before leaving Emory and entering the professional world.

Emory students may not be locked in their dorms attempting to solve climate change or studying every word of the Paris agreement, however there were some promising efforts to raise climate consciousness on campus in the last couple of weeks of this semester. I am excited to see the impact of the delegation in their attempts to bring back the conference next semester.

Mark