Climate change is no longer a question of science for most global leaders – it is an economic and financial risk, and they are taking it seriously. They also see opportunities in action: elusive jobs in a clean economy, greater stability, and growth as a result of resilience and an economy based on resource efficiency.
This week, finance ministers countries around the world arrive in Washington, D.C., for the World Bank Group/IMF Annual Meetings. Climate change is on their agenda.
For the first time, the high-level climate ministerial meeting held each year at the meetings will bring private sector leaders into the discussion of the climate challenges that countries are facing and policies that can help solve them. The meeting is part of a year and half of discussions that began last month at the UN Climate Leadership Summit, where heads of state and CEOs discussed carbon pricing as a driver of greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Those discussions will continue through the 2015 climate talks in Paris that are expected to deliver an international agreement.
“Bringing the private sector into these conversations reflects the growing recognition that the public sector cannot solve the climate challenge alone,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, who will lead the climate ministerial meeting on Friday. “Climate action is everybody’s business.”
Private sector leadership is critical
The private sector has both the financial power to scale up renewable energy use and develop world-changing innovations and the influence to clean up the sources of emissions. In fact, it contributes more than half of all climate finance today.
Private sector leaders also understand the risks that climate change poses to business supply chains and assets and the opportunities that climate action creates for competitive growth and innovation. Executives from Alstom, Swedish pension fund AP4, Deutsche Bank, and French pension fund ERAFP will bring those perspectives to the conversation with finance ministers.
Business leaders and investors are already working to improve climate policy. At the Climate Summit, hundreds of businesses and investors spoke out in support of a price on carbon to help reduce emissions. More than 150 global companies already use an internal price on emissions to help drive innovation, prioritize efficiency, and prepare for future carbon pricing policies that reward low-carbon growth and deter emissions.