The Paris agreement is the “North star” for the global economyWe Mean Business
When we attended the World Economic Forum in Davos one year ago, we said that the conversation on climate and energy in Davos had shifted from one of financial risk to economic opportunity, as the business case for climate action was getting traction amongst the financial and business communities.
A lot has happened this year to prove that more companies and investors now see taking climate action as a smart business move, including the groundswell of support that they showed before and after the adoption of the Paris agreement.
What we have seen this year in Davos is even more promising. The business community is now ready to move onto the next chapter: working to support the implementation of the agreement at a national and local level.
Discussions around the future of fossil fuels and the role of renewables in the energy mix left no doubt about where investments are flowing.
Tina Joemat-Pettersson, South Africa’s energy minister, talked about the country’s energy needs and said that a further 6GW of wind energy will be brought online by 2020 in addition to the 6GW pledged last year.
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, was one of the many in Davos to bust the myth of costly renewables. Among the latest evidence, she cited last month’s tender for wind energy in Morocco, which saw Enel GreenPower bidding with a price of 3.5 cents per Kilowatt/hour.
“In the last three years that I’ve been President of the World Bank, I’ve seen the price of wind energy going from 25 cents per Kwh to 3.5 cents”, stressed Jim Kim during Thursday’s plenary. The appetite for renewables is no longer questioned.
Business and SDGs
Among the highlights of the Forum, a new global commission was launched on Thursday by Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever and Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across international businesses.
“What we [businesses] need to do now is work on the SDGs to eradicate poverty and create an equitable, sustainable world”, said Paul Polman. And that requires a strong collaboration between all actors.
Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Association, endorsed the commission, defining it as a “new social contract between businesses, governments, labour and civil society. This is about collective action.”
Speaking at a dinner organized by We Mean Business – “End of the Oil Age” – government and business leaders discussed the future of the low-carbon economy in the light of the adoption of the Paris agreement.
One of the key topics on the agenda was the crucial role that carbon pricing can play in this transitioning phase.
But the main feeling that emerged from the conversation was a sense of urgency, a desire to capitalize on the incredible momentum that culminated in Paris and to translate it into concrete actions.
Featured image: World Economic Forum 2016