“We are in deep trouble. Things are not working to fix the biggest problem we’ve had to fix. We have failed to do what, 20 years ago, we set out to do. We have squandered that 20 years.
This is an issue where you can feel good about a demonstration project here and there; but the scale of the impact is overwhelming us all.
Every successful economy has fossil fuels in its DNA. It can be hard to appreciate the nature of the challenge before us. To change direction is to deeply change the hardwiring of our economies.
We are on track for quadrupling of global GDP by 2050; yet keeping on emitting CO2 at current levels is suicide.
What do we do? We have to decarbonize our economies; a profoundly deep decarbonization of our energy systems.
Humanity has not yet taken on this problem. Almost no governments have even identified pathways to decarbonization.
We have left climate change to the lawyers for the past 20 years. This has been a failure. We need to bypass treaties and look for direct action. We need a new generation of problem solving – activism, expertise, energy. If we continue with our current game we are lost.
It’s leadership that’s missing. Leadership requires the capacity to explain why the future is now.
The public needs a roadmap of what the economy could look like: how power will be produced, what kind of cars they will drive, what cities will look like, what their lives will be like. That political visioning will become the driver.”
A couple of weeks ago I heard Ban Ki Moon echo this in Washington DC: “The extent of the climate change challenges before us mean that we need a new paradigm; a fundamental reset of the global development agenda. We have to use this chance to create an inclusive, green economy for the future.”
At the Korean Summit, Japanese billionaire and renewables evangelist Masayoshi Son spelt out his proposal to connect renewable energy generation in Mongolia to Japan: wholesale power in Japan costs 20c KWh; solar and wind generation in Mongolia costs 3c KWh, with transport to Japan costing another 3c KWh. Bingo, clean energy plus big profit and Japan gets to keep its nuclear plants shut. The Mongolian Prime Minister was there, saying he supports the project. That’s the beginning of an East Asian Supergrid. We’re going to see a lot of climate bonds coming out of this.
The Korean’s have big plans as well: the President has set a target of 2 per cent of GDP going into Green Growth efforts. Makes me wish I was a Korean!
At the same time we’re now seeing more renewable energy bonds in China: Yingli Green Energy, China’s third-biggest solar-energy equipment maker recently sold a record 1.5 billion Yuan ($238m) of bonds yielding as little as 5.78 per cent, according to Bloomberg.
Bloomberg discovered the MIGA story this week: “A World Bank Group agency providing insurance, including political-risk cover in developing nations, is being underutilised by 30 per cent because of a lack of demand as the United Nations fights to protect the climate. They quoted me as well: “It’s a fantastic facility, but must be better utilised. If we are not using every cannon we have at this point, then there is something wrong.”
At the recent Clean Energy Ministers meeting in London the IEA tabled a report on clean energy progress – and suggested governments consider climate or green bonds to finance climate change solutions. “Green bonds offer the largest potential to attract funding from institutional investors in the next decade”. See P68 on “Green and climate bonds”.